Kingfisher now sells more in France than UK

The B&Q and Screwfix owner announced it is going to return hundreds of millions of pounds cash to shareholders despite a 'challenging year'.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 25 Nov 2014

Currency movements are a funny thing. Despite sclerotic economic growth in France compared to the UK’s positively booming output, DIY retailer Kingfisher now sells more across the Channel than it does here.

Europe’s largest DIY group reported sales of £4.42bn in France, its ‘most significant market’, in the year to 1 February, up from £4.19bn last year. However, that actually equated to a 0.8% rise in revenue on a constant currency basis and profits slipped to £396m from £397m.

Kingfisher’s UK & Ireland business posted sales of £4.36bn, up 1% from £4.31bn the year before. The retailer’s Screwfix chain is doing particularly well – sales were up 17.6% to £665m, as 60 new stores took its total to 335. Like-for-like revenues were also pretty good, up 7.3%.

With adjusted pre-tax profits for the whole group up 4.1% to £744m despite a rubbish third quarter, the company decided the time was right to lavish some cash on investors. The first payout in the ‘multi-year programme’ will be around £200m in the next year, it said.

Predictably, shareholders were pleased – shares were up almost 5% to 426.3p in mid-morning trading.

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