Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Weak consumer demand leads to B&Q sales dip

Published: 16 September 2010
DIY giant reports 3.1% drop in sales in H1 but secures profit jump of 15.4% with fewer promotions and stronger focus and cost cutting.
Weak consumer demand leads to B&Q sales dip
B&Q UK and Ireland's total sales were down 3.1% to £2,095m in, what parent company Kingfisher describe as, a "declining home improvement market".

Sales of outdoor products were down just 1%, despite mixed weather and following strong growth last year. Decorative products saw a 2% decline, while showroom and building categories were down around 6% - reflecting fewer promotions and a weak consumer appetite for bigger ticket purchases, said the company.

However, the chain grew its profit 15.4% to £158m and upped its gross margin by 140 basis points, driven by more direct sourcing, further shrinkage reduction and less promotional activity. A strong focus on reducing operating costs also helped grow profit.

Screwfix meanwhile saw a total sales decline of 1.4% to £233m - limiting the impact of a challenging trade market with the introduction of 91 specialist trade desks exclusive to plumbers and electricians within existing Screwfix outlets. Retail profit for the chain was also up 22% to £13m.

Kingfisher Group sales, including international operations, saw a 0.9% decline to £5,454m, while retail profit saw a 16% increase to £402m. UK and Ireland profits were up 16% to £171m.

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