Screwfix was confirmed today as the star performer of Kingfisher Group's brace of UK businesses as the company announced its preliminary results for 2013/14.
Total annual sales at Kingfisher UK & Ireland, which comprises Screwfix and B&Q, rose 2.7%, and 1.1% on a like-for-like basis, to £4,363m. The figure was boosted by a strong performance from Screwfix and encouraging early signs in the smaller tradesman market, but offset by a slower underlying retail market.
Retail profit at Kingfisher UK & Ireland was up 3.4% to £238m, while gross margins rose 10 basis points with the benefits from self-help initiatives balanced by investment in pricing across both businesses.
Screwfix grew total sales by 17.6%, 7.3% like-for-like, to £665m, benefiting from a strong promotional programme, extended opening hours, the successful introduction of a mobile click, pay and collect offer last year and more new outlets: 60 were opened, taking the total to 335.
At B&Q UK & Ireland total sales nudged up by just 0.4%, 0.1% like-for-like, to £3,698m. Kingfisher said sales of outdoor products increased by around 2% but indoor products fell 1%.
At Kingfisher's French Castorama and Brico Depot businesses, total sales were up 2.3% and down 1.0% respectively, but other international sales were healthier, up 10.5% to £2,339m. These were driven by the acquisition of 15 more stores in Romania, and growth in Poland, Russia and China. Retail profit increased by 11.4% to £171m, mainly driven by Poland.
Overall, Kingfisher Group sales rose 3.5% to £11,125m, while pre-tax profit was up 4.1% to £744m.
Commenting on the results, Kingfisher Group chief executive Sir Ian Cheshire said: "We finish a challenging year in good shape, with our self-help programme meaning we have grown profit and economic return, improved our balance sheet strength whilst also investing in lower prices for our customers and improved convenience.
"Looking ahead we are well placed to benefit from a pick-up in consumer spending as Europe's economies return to growth."