Parent company of B&Q and Screwfix, Kingfisher plc, has announced its trading update up to April 30 2018.
Quarter 1 LFL sales has been reported as down by 4.0% reflecting, what the company describes as "unusually adverse weather conditions" which it believes impacted footfall. Impact on LFL sales of weather related categories and temporary UK store closures: at B&Q c.-6% (outdoor products & snow related store closures) and at Screwfix c.-2% (snow related store closures).
In the UK, a 9.0% slump in like-for-like sales at B&Q offset 3.6% growth at Screwfix, however despite this, Kingfisher say it is "still on track to deliver Year 3 strategic milestones of our transformation plan".
The results for the year ended January 31 showed that despite Screwfix posting a robust performance for the year, with LFLs up 10.1%, “softer sales patterns” were reported across Screwfix and B&Q, as demand for big-ticket lines slowed.
Chief Executive Officer, Véronique Laury said: "It was a challenging start to the year with exceptionally harsh weather across Europe and weak UK consumer demand. This impacted footfall, especially sales of weather related categories. February and March were particularly affected with sales improving over the course of April and into May.
"We are on track to deliver our ONE Kingfisher strategic milestones for the third year in a row and we continue to see tangible delivery of our plan. Around 40% of our ranges are now unified and continue to be well received by customers. Sales of these ranges, excluding outdoor products, are up, and we expect to grow the full year Group gross margin, after clearance costs. Meanwhile, we are into the final year of our unified IT platform roll out with Poland now underway and Brico Dépôt France due to start soon.
"Market conditions continue to be mixed. The UK is uncertain, as demonstrated by recent weak retail sales data; France is encouraging, but volatile; whilst Poland continues to be supportive. We remain confident about delivering the business and customer benefits of our transformation plan, supported by the continued hard work and expertise of our colleagues."