Weather hits B&Q sales
- Credit: PA
DIY chain B&Q saw spring sales of outdoor seasonal products plunge by more than 10% as the retailer was hit hard by the prolonged cold spell.
Takings on building products were also down in the quarter to May 4 as the DIY chain suffered the twin effects of weak consumer confidence and the bad weather earlier in the year.
The slump in outdoor product trade - which contributes nearly a third of first-quarter total sales - left B&Q nursing a 5.6% drop in like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland.
Parent company Kingfisher, which also owns Screwfix as well as Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said group-wide sales fell by 4.2% while retail profits nosedived by 29.2% to £114 million in the quarter.
The overall group saw like-for-like sales in the first week of April down by more than 15% and is now pinning its hopes on a better summer.
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Chief executive Ian Cheshire said challenging market conditions had been compounded by the effects of an early Easter and unseasonably cold weather across Europe.
He said the bad weather in March accounted for the vast majority of the quarter's profits decline, though sales improved towards the end of the period as the weather got better.
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"Looking ahead, we still have our key summer season to come and we are ready to capitalise on any improvement in conditions during this peak trading period," Mr Cheshire said.
Kingfisher has more than 1,000 stores worldwide, including 356 B&Q outlets in the UK and Ireland employing nearly 22,000 people.