Kingfisher sales drop 25% in Q1 results

B&Q and Screwfix owner B&Q has revealed its first quarter sales fell by 24.8% to £2.2bn as the impact of the coronavirus hit its core markets of UK, Ireland and France.

Kingfisher said it saw UK and Ireland sales fall 14.7% to £1.09bn, with B&Q sales plummeting 22.1% to £663m. While the UK government had classed DIY stores as essential, Kingfisher said it took the decision to close stores in order to install “safe store working protocols”.

Despite this, Screwfix performed “relatively strongly”, reporting just a 0.1% sales fall to £432m for the quarter.

In addition the company said it has started to see a small turnaround since the beginning of May with like-for-like sales increasing by 2.7% during the first week of the month.

Kingfisher added it has also taken “significant actions” throughout the business to reduce costs and protect cash, which it added it has done in part supported by governments. As such it said its current cash balance provides the business with “sufficient financial headroom”.

Thierry Garnier, CEO, said: “Since the COVID-19 crisis started, our priorities have been clear – to provide support to the communities we serve, to fulfil our obligations to colleagues as a responsible employer, to our customers as a retailer of essential goods, and to protect our business for the long term.

“Having initially closed our stores in France and the UK, we have rapidly adapted how we
operate to meet the essential needs of our customers safely during lockdown. We started by
transforming our operations to meet a material increase in online transactions through our
click & collect and home delivery services.”

He added: “We reconfigured our retail space and processes, allowing a phased and safe reopening of stores whilst preserving the social distancing and other health & safety protocols that are likely to be with us for some time. In addition, we have donated over £1 million of PPE to frontline health workers, with more on the way.

“It has been inspiring and humbling for all of us to see how Kingfisher’s teams have risen to
meet these significant challenges. We have adapted to government guidelines, listened to
colleague and customer feedback, and made major changes to our operating model in a
matter of days. These challenging times have underscored both the agility of our teams and
the importance to customers of our offering, which gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”

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