Online sales and DIY drive returns Kingfisher to profit

A combination of strong online sales and a trend towards lockdown DIY projects has caused profits to rise this year for the Kingfisher Group.

The owner of B&Q and Screwfix in the UK stated that during the six months to 31 July, statutory pre-tax profits were up 62.4 per cent to £398 million, while adjusted pre-tax profits rose 23.1 per cent to £415 million.

Online sales for the period increased 164 per cent and now account for 19 per cent of the group’s total sales.

However, overall group sales fell 1.3 per cent to £5.9 billion, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 forced store closures during the first half of the year.

Kingfisher reported an encouraging start to the second half of the year, with sales in the third quarter up 16.6 per cent to 19 September.

Chief executive Thierry Garnier commented that the crisis has prompted more people to rediscover their homes and find pleasure in making them better.

“It is creating new home improvement needs, as people seek new ways to use space or adjust to working from home,” he said, adding: “It’s also clear that customers are becoming more comfortable with ordering online.”

Garnier said that progress has been made against the strategic plan announced in June. “We are fundamentally reorganising our commercial operating model to serve our customers better.

“We have accelerated our plans around e-commerce, with a focus on fulfilment from stores – we are testing a number of initiatives, including new concepts, services and partnerships.”

In July, the group appointed a new group data director and group digital product and platform director - newly created roles reflecting the central role of e-commerce and big data in the new strategy.

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