B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher Group says the proportion of its sales that take place online have doubled in the last three years, to 16% of third-quarter sales from 8% in the same period three years earlier – before the Covid-19 pandemic. In the latest quarter, ecommerce growth at B&Q was driven by its marketplace, which launched in the summer and accounted for 13% of its online sales in October, and the group has gone on to launch further marketplaces at its Spanish and Portuguese businesses. The first two Screwfix stores have now opened in France – with plans for more both this year and next.
Kingfisher Group today reports that total sales came in at £3.3bn in the three months to October 31 2022. That’s 0.6% up on the same time last year. UK and Ireland sales of £1.5bn were 0.1% higher. That includes £935m sales at B&Q – down 2.8% on the same time last year – and £610m at Screwfix (+4.8%). But on a like-for-like (LFL) basis that strips out the effect of store – and business – openings and closures, UK and Ireland sales were 2.3% lower than a year earlier. Trading was hit in the quarter by “abnormally warmer weather”. Store closures for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II resulted in a LFL sales decline of 0.6% for the quarter in the UK and Ireland. Year-on-year LFL sales were down at both B&Q (-3.5%), and Screwfix (-0.5%).
LFL sales were ahead of the same period in pre-pandemic 2019 across the Kingfisher group (+15.3%), in its UK and Ireland business (+12.9%), including B&Q (+13.1%) and Screwfix (+12.4%).
Kingfisher now expects to report a pre-tax profit of between £730m and £760m in its full financial year.
Kingfisher Group chief executive Thierry Garnier says: “Our sales trends continued to be resilient, with like-for-like sales 15.3% ahead of pre- pandemic levels in the quarter. This was supported by continued market share growth, including strong gains at Screwfix, TradePoint and Castorama Poland. While the market backdrop remains challenging, DIY sales continue to be supported by new industry trends such as more working from home and a clear step-up in customer investment in energy saving and efficiency. DIFM [do it for me] and trade activity also continues to be well supported by robust pipelines for home improvement work.
“Competitive pricing remains a priority. With our customers facing rising living costs, we are determined to make home improvement affordable and accessible – particularly through our own exclusive brands which represent 45% of our sales. We continue to execute our strategy at pace, and to invest for growth. The fourth quarter has started well, with good trading momentum.
“Looking ahead, we remain mindful of the current backdrop of heightened macroeconomic uncertainty. We continue to focus on offering customers value at all price points, whilst also managing inflationary pressures effectively. We are confident in our diverse and resilient business model, and our priority remains consistent execution against our strategy to drive top line and market share growth. Furthermore, we remain committed to active and responsive management of our costs, and are on track with our plans to sell through a large part of the ‘buffer’ stock held as of 31 July 2022.”
Total sales were also ahead in France (+0.6%), Poland (+10.5%), Iberia (+3.4%) and Romania (+4.2%).
B&Q and Screwfix are both ranked Top50 in RXUK Top500 research.