Kingfisher, Europe’s largest home improvements retailer which owns both B&Q and Screwfix in the UK, said profits dropped 11.4% to £715m over the last year. And the washout summer last year is estimated to account for £25m in lost sales.
The British-headquartered company, which trades from more than 1,000 stores across eight countries in Europe and Asia, has also suffered from wider problems relating to the fear of Britain falling into a triple-dip recession.
People aren’t prioritising home improvements, and the continued squeeze on consumers’ incomes means sales of ‘big ticket’ items such as kitchens and bathrooms have also fallen. Group like-for-like sales fell 2.9% to £10.57bn in the year ending February 2 2013. Adverse exchange rates also affected profits made in euros or the Polish zloty when converted into sterling.
The market conditions have taken their toll across the business. In the last year, Kingfisher’s shares have dropped from 313p to 283p – and at one point during the dire summer of 2012, shares slumped to a year-low of 254p.
Ian Cheshire, Group CEO at Kingfisher, said it had been ‘a tough year, impacted by unfavourable foreign exchange, record adverse weather in the UK and declining underlying markets in each of our three key territories.’
Cheshire expects market conditions to remain challenging in 2013. And the way the weather’s looking at the moment, he can’t expect the Easter weekend to bring much relief in the short-term. Which means there’s going to be yet more unsold charcoal and sunloungers cluttering up your local B&Q.