No quick fix at DIY firm Kingfisher as it plots exits

b&q diy stores

B&Q owner Kingfisher warned there was “no quick fix” to its problems as it posted a slump in sales at the DIY chain, and said that it will exit Russia, Spain and Portugal to focus on its core markets.

Figures released on Wednesday show that B&Q in the UK saw a 2.9% fall in like-for-like sales in the three months to October 31.

It bemoaned a difficult retail market as total sales at B&Q also dipped 2.8% to £850 million, amid consumer belt-tightening in the UK.

In France, its troubled Castorama business saw comparable sales plummet 7.3%.

Chief executive Veronique Laury, who is overseeing a five-year strategic overhaul of the firm, said: “Transformation on this scale is tough, and we are operating in a difficult retail environment.

“We face challenges and we are addressing them.

“Our main challenge is Castorama France and we shared our action plan to fix it at the half year.

“Our action plan is now implemented for this year.

“We have accelerated our move to an everyday low-price strategy and have launched a new marketing campaign to make it visible to our customers, however there is no quick fix.”

Kingfisher added that it was exiting Russia, Spain and Portugal to focus on markets where it has or can potentially have a “market leading position”.

One brighter spot was Screwfix, which saw like-for-like sales rise 4.1% in the period.

Total Kingfisher group sales for the quarter came in at £3.05 billion.

Comparable sales in the UK and Ireland fell 0.7% to £1.29 billion and France sales fell 3.4% to £1.11 billion.

In the UK, B&Q’s turnaround has seen Kingfisher shut 65 shops and slash about 3,000 jobs in the UK and Ireland over the last two and a half years.

It has also been shaking up its ranges and improving its online offering, while the group recently announced it was investing £100 million as part of plans to lower everyday prices.

Kingfisher has nearly 24,700 staff in the UK and Ireland and more than 63,900 overall.