B&Q owner Kingfisher revealed weaker UK sales figures today as it braced itself for a further fall in consumer demand.
The group said third quarter UK retail sales fell by 0.5% to £1.08bn on a like-for-like basis – cutting profits for the division by almost 12% to £45.3m.
Kingfisher said efforts to overhaul ranges and stores were going well, but added that it did not expect an immediate pick up in trading conditions.
The group is the world’s third largest home improvement retailer, with more than 775 stores in 10 countries. Its other retail brands include Castorama, Brico Depot and Screwfix.
Stronger sales in France and the rest of Europe failed to prevent the group from reporting a 0.8% drop in retail profits to £171.7m for the third quarter of the financial year.
Kingfisher has been revamping its 324 B&Q stores, with a new larger format designed to devote more space to showroom displays of complete kitchens and bathrooms.
B&Q now has 116 large stores – 31 of them in the modern format – while it has 208 medium stores, of which 142 have been modernised.
UK profits were also hit by £14m renewal costs.
Screwfix sales grew by 28.1% to £117.1m, which Kingfisher said reflected increased customer numbers and higher average order values.
Kevin Lapwood, a research analyst at Seymour Pierce stockbrokers, said the results were in line with expectations.