B&Q sales to be warmed up by blistering summer

B&Q is expected to reveal a second-quarter boost from the warm weather next week, helped by shoppers splashing out on barbecues and garden furniture.

The DIY chain is forecast by analysts at Jefferies to post a 1.3% increase in like-for-like sales for the period when its parent company Kingfisher issues a trading update on Thursday.

It would represent a significant bounce back from the 9% decline recorded in the first quarter, when sales were pummelled by the Beast from the East as the retailer was forced to close stores in the face of extreme weather.

Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The warm weather may well have whetted the appetite for barbecues and garden furniture sales, so we expect these categories to perform strongly at B&Q owner Kingfisher."

B&Q is also likely to benefit from turmoil at rival Homebase, which is embarking on a large-scale store closure programme under its new owner Hilco.

Sister company Screwfix, Kingfisher's standout performer, is expected to continue a stellar run of form with comparable growth of 6%.

Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, said: "The market will be interested to see if the recent warm weather has encouraged customers at its B&Q chain to do more DIY activities and buy its products.

"It is certainly in need of some good news after a difficult year, both in the UK and France where sales have continued to struggle.

"The one bright part has been Screwfix, where sales have been resilient, so investors will be watching to see if growth has continued there."

B&Q is in the middle of an overhaul being undertaken by boss Veronique Laury.

It has seen the group shut 65 shops and slash around 3,000 jobs in the UK and Ireland over the last two years.

But Ms Laury has been insistent her turnaround is beginning to bear fruit.

"The company's transformation plan has caused some disruption in recent times and the market will be hoping for some signs that the benefits are coming through," Mr Spooner added.

PA


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