B&Q owner Kingfisher today said soaring utility costs, household debt and fears over the housing market had all contributed to a sharp decline in profits.
Strong performances in continental Europe and Asia were more than offset by weakening home sales in the DIY sector in the UK as annual underlying profits fell from £661.4m (€954.9m) to £445.7m (€643.5m), the firm said.
Like-for-like sales at B&Q fell 7.8% during the 52 weeks ended January 28 and Kingfisher said that the home improvement market has continued to weaken since then.
Chief executive Gerry Murphy said: “With the important spring and summer season still to come, it is too early to forecast the full year, although a continuation of the recent stronger mortgage and housing trends should provide some some support later in the year.”
As well as B&Q, Kingfisher owns Castorama and Brico Depot in France and has operations around the world, including China.