Kingfisher pre-tax profits fall 20% amid B&Q closures

B&Q owner Kingfisher revealed that bottom-line profits fell by more than a fifth as it counted the cost of an overhaul, but said its "ambitious" plans were on track.

Kingfisher pre-tax profits fall 20% amid B&Q closures

B&Q owner Kingfisher revealed that bottom-line profits fell by more than a fifth as it counted the cost of an overhaul, but said its "ambitious" plans were on track.

The group, which is axing B&Q stores and jobs in the UK and Ireland, posted a 20.5% fall in annual statutory pre-tax profits to £512m (€648.29m) as it closed shops and suffered an exchange rate hit.

But with the impact of its restructuring and currency woes stripped out, group-wide underlying profits rose 0.3% higher to a better-than-expected £686m (€868.62m), helped by a robust UK performance.

UK retail profits jumped 18% to £326m (€412.79) for the year to the end of January, helped by another impressive sales hike in its trade-focused hardware arm, Screwfix.

It is halfway through an overhaul to shut 65 B&Q stores and cut 3,000 jobs in the UK and Ireland under plans that will instead see it expand its burgeoning Screwfix business.

Kingfisher said the first 30 B&Q stores have already closed, the majority of which were shut in the final three months of its financial year, with remainder to go by the end of next January.

It recently unveiled plans to bolster annual profits by £500m (€633.11m) over five years, although this will come at a cost of £800m (€1.01bn).

Kingfisher shares rose 3% as it defied expectations for a fall in underlying profits.

But the group said it remained "cautious" on France, where it trades as Castorama and Brico Depot, as sales have been under pressure amid weak consumer confidence and subdued housing and construction markets.

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