B&Q's like-for-like sales in UK and Ireland in the first 23 weeks of the current year were down 5.6% compared with the same period the previous year. On the face of it, that's a pretty unimpressive figure.
But like all figures, it needs to be placed in context: the comparable figure at the end of the first quarter was -11.7%. And that was the worst year-on-year trading performance recorded for the UK and Ireland at any time in the past eight years.
So the -5.6% achieved in the first 23 weeks is actually a substantial improvement. Add to that the fact that the comparable figure for the 10 weeks to July 7 - an early indicator of Q2 performance
- was a 1.1% increase in sales. So while the rain continued to hammer down, B&Q was returning to sales growth. Amid all the doom and gloom, that's a fact we should remember: the DIY market leader has bounced back strongly from a truly dreadful first quarter.
True, Kingfisher's overall performance looks less buoyant. Total group sales were down 0.4% on a like-for-like basis in the 10 weeks to July 7, and down 2.8% like-for-like in the 23 weeks up to the same date. But Kingfisher's sales in France, Poland, Russia, China and Spain have little relevance to the UK market. As always, we concentrate on the UK - and this time, the UK sales performance gives us every reason to be optimistic.