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Wet weather makes April a washout for B&Q as sales plummet

Sales at the DIY superstore B&Q slumped in April as the wet weather left few people with good reason to buy outdoor furniture or start ambitious plans for the garden.

In the past three months, like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland fell by 10.4 per cent

Sales in France were down by a less damaging 1.8 per cent, but the euro's weakness saw Kingfisher take a £5m hit to convert the profits into pounds.

Kingfisher, with about 950 stores in eight countries in Europe and Asia, said overall profits fell by 8.6 per cent to £160m in the three months to 30 April.

Even excluding the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations, sales at stores open over a year fell 4.8 per cent year on year. The biggest drag was in the UK and Ireland.

The drop in the UK and Ireland compares with a fourth-quarter decline of 2.5 per cent and analysts' expectations of a fall of 10 per cent.

First-quarter, like-for-like sales at Castorama France dipped 0.8 per cent and were up 2.4 per cent at Brico Depot France stores.