B&Q owner Kingfisher raised hopes of a long-awaited sales revival today, despite seeing trading conditions remain tough in the UK.
Like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of changes to floor space, were much better than City expectations after a drop of 1.3% in the 11 weeks to July 15. Analysts had been looking for a decline of around 4.4%.
Kingfisher said the improved trend reflected targeted promotions and the introduction of in-store “service squads”. Shares were up by more than 2% today.
Chief executive Gerry Murphy believed the figures showed “early signs of progress” at B&Q, which posted a fall of more than 8% in the previous quarter.
However, he added: “The UK consumer home-improvement market has not yet returned to growth despite a pick-up in general household consumption.”
Kingfisher’s international operations, including Castorama and Brico Depot in France, generated positive revenues growth to leave like-for-like sales across the group ahead by 1% and by 8.7% on a total revenues basis.
The company is the third-largest home-improvement retailer in the world with more than 680 stores in 11 countries in Europe and Asia.