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'Solid set' of interims says Kingfisher

Published: 18 September 2008
Rises in group retail sales and profits but prospect of 'very tough times ahead' calls for hard work to maintain progress, announced Ian Cheshire this morning.
'Solid set' of interims says Kingfisher
Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire says the group has delivered a solid set of interim results for the six months to August 2, 2008.

Group retail sales were up 11% to £5bn (£4.6bn: 2007/08) and group profits up 8.6%. Although group sales were down 2.6% on a like-for-like basis to £146m (£159m last year) and net profits fell 8.1%.

The 'solid' set of results were attributed to actions to improve margin and manage costs, Ian Cheshire said in the interim statement.

He added that the group anticipates 'very tough times ahead', especially in the UK, but believes working in a more unified way than under his predecessor Gerry Murphy, it can improve profits, cashflow and investment returns.

Operationally, the international businesses outshone a broadly flat UK performance.

Retail profit for the latter was up 9.1% to £93m (sales stand at £2.3bn) supported by gross margin and cost improvements.
B&Q's total reported sales were £2.0bn, down 2.5% (-4.6% like-for-like). Retail profit was £83m (2007/08: £78m).
Kingfisher said sales growth came from revamped large stores and new ranges.

In France, sales were up 3.2%, and retail profit up 5.5%. Other International delivered solid sales, up 9.4% (retail profit up 15.3%). Poland, again, put in a strong performance (sales up 20.6%, retail profit up 11.4%).

However, B&Q China suffered from 'internal and external issues'. Sales declined 19.4% (-23.6% like-for-like) with losses of £17m.

Trade businesses – Screwfix and Trade Depot – grew profits by 29.1%.
Screwfix's total sales rose 20.4% to £251m. Trade Depot's highlight was opening three more stores taking the total trading to nine.

'The first half has been a busy period of change at Kingfisher with good progress," Ian Cheshire said. "There is much to do in the second half to ensure we continue to trade effectively in tougher markets and also to progress with our 'Delivering Value' programme."

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