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B&Q owner reports higher UK sales but kitchen and bathroom spending drags

B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher has said UK sales edged up in recent months (Rui Vieira/PA)
B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher has said UK sales edged up in recent months (Rui Vieira/PA)

B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher has said UK sales edged up in recent months, but cautioned over weaker spending on so-called big ticket items and the knock-on impact of slower housing demand.

The DIY giant reported a 2.7% rise in sales in the UK and Ireland at constant currency to £1.6 billion over the three months to the end of April, compared with the same period last year.

This was driven by improved consumer spending on tools, hardware and building and joinery products, particularly for Screwfix, which is set to open up to 40 stores across the region during the financial year.

However, sales of its “big ticket” purchases fell by more than 6% across the group as consumer confidence remained under pressure.

The category includes includes bigger spending projects like kitchen and bathroom sales, and makes up about 15% of its total sales.

A B&Q shop
B&Q owner Kingfisher said ‘big ticket’ sales had remained weak over the three months to April (Alamy/PA)

The retail group also said it was remaining cautious about the lag between housing demand and home improvements.

The UK housing market has seen a slowdown after a prolonged period of interest rate rises pushing up the cost of mortgages.

Meanwhile, sales across its France division, which includes stores Castorama and Brico Depot, fell by 5.1% year on year at constant currency.

Total sales across the wider group crept up by 0.3% at constant currency, compared with a year ago.

Kingisher said it had completed plans to simplify the structure of the French arm, which included trimming its workforce by “rightsizing” three stores in the country.

The group is aiming to make about £120 million worth of extra cost savings this year which it said will partially offset increased spending on higher wages and investment in technology.

Thierry Garnier, Kingfisher’s chief executive, said: “We have seen continued resilience in our core categories, although ‘big-ticket’ sales have been weak reflecting the broader market as expected.

“We continue to drive our strategic priorities at pace and remain focused on delivering market share growth.”