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Sixteen per cent of Kingfisher sales now online, following 164% ecommerce growth over the last three years

Trade demand was 'resilient' at Screwfix in the first quarter of its financial year

Screwfix and B&Q owner Kingfisher says online sales now represent 16% of group sales, following 164% ecommerce growth over the last three years.

B&Q sales, said Kingfisher, were hit by February’s UK storms but saw “resilient” demand for kitchens, bathrooms and storage, while trade sales through TradePoint accounted for 21% of sales in the first quarter.

At Screwfix, demand from trade customers was also “resilient”, and the trade supplies business continued to roll out its one-hour delivery Screwfix Sprint service, now available to 40% of the UK population. During the first quarter, Screwfix opened 13 new stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland – part of an expected 80 stores that are scheduled for opening in those markets in the current financial year. It also plans to open its first stores in France.

The update comes as Kingfisher reports first quarter figures showing a fall in year-on-year sales as the retailer moves beyond the peaks of lockdown trading. Group sales came in at £3.2bn in the three months to April 30. That’s 5.8% down on the same time last year, in total. Sales are 5.4% down on a like-for-like, constant currency basis that strips out the effect of any store openings and closures and of foreign exchange fluctuations. But they are also up by 16.2% LFL, constant currency, up on three years earlier – the last pre-pandemic comparative period.

In the UK and Ireland, sales of £1.6bn were 14.2% down on last time, and 15.8% down on the same LFL, constant currency basis. Compared to three years earlier sales were 16.7% ahead. Sales of £996m at B&Q were a total of 17.8% down on last time, and 16.3% LFL up on three years earlier. Screwfix sales of £572m were down on last year (-7.1%) but up on three years ago (+18%).

In the first two weeks of the second quarter, to May 14, group LFL sales were 2.5% down on last year, and 21.8% ahead of three years ago.

Thierry Garnier, chief executive of Kingfisher, says it has been a good first quarter of trading. “While facing very strong comparatives in the prior year, our continued strategic progress has enabled us to retain a significant proportion of the increased sales during the pandemic.

“We continue to effectively manage inflationary and supply chain pressures. As a result, our product availability is now very close to ‘normal’ levels across all our banners, and we continue to deliver value for our customers through our own exclusive brands and competitive prices.”

He says the group’s full-year guidance is unchanged, with adjusted pre-tax profit £770m expected, and announced a £300m share buyback programme. Garnier adds: “We are focused on delivering on our strategic objectives and growth initiatives, including the growth of our scalable ecommerce marketplace, the expansion of Screwfix in the UK and France, new store openings in Poland, further increasing our trade customer base.”

B&Q and Screwfix are both ranked Top50 in RXUK Top500 research.

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