B&Q owner bumps up outlook as sunshine helps extend lockdown sales surge

B&Q owner Kingfisher has bumped up its profit outlook after a surge in demand during the coronavirus lockdown extended into the summer – helped by good weather.

Consumers have been spending more time at home during the pandemic, meaning more DIY projects, while gardening products are also proving popular as the sun comes out.

Kingfisher said sales were up by 21.6% over the period from the end of April to 18 July “reflecting strong e-commerce growth and the phased reopening of stores in the UK and France”.

The group had said last month that it was enjoying “exceptional demand” with people taking on DIY projects as they had more time at home with fewer leisure and travel options.

Its latest update suggested that the trend has continued at a similar pace over recent weeks.

Gardening and other outdoor products including plants, compost, decking and fence paint proved popular as did painting and decorating kits, plus building materials and tools.

Kingfisher, which owns B&Q and Screwfix in the UK plus European chains including France-based Castorama, saw sales tumble by 25% in the first quarter to the end of April with stores closed for much of the period.

Though trading bounced back as they gradually reopened for business, like-for-like revenues are still 3.7% down for the financial year to date.

However the group said that based on the “strong sales seen to date” in the second quarter, together with cost cutting, it expected to see profits for the six months to the end of July ahead of the same period last year.

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