Kingfisher profit down slightly in third quarter

Kingfisher, parent of European and Asian DIY chains, including B&Q, Trade Depot and Castorama, reported stronger third-quarter sales, particularly in Eastern Europe and Asia.

Companywide, profit was off slightly, falling 1.9 percent to 171.7 million British pounds (US$354 million). Sales rose 6.4 percent to $4.97 billion.

While sales at the company’s United Kingdom-based B&Q stores rose 0.8 percent, profit declined 11.9 percent. B&Q stores are being renovated en masse, the company said, with larger format stores and more streamlined displays replacing an older retail format. Certain DIY categories, as well as “Do-it-for-me” products and services, have been popular.

“Recently updated decorative ranges performed well, and activity to update building, hardware, bedroom and flooring ranges accelerated in Q3,” the company said.

In France, sales at Castorama and Brico Depot stores rose 5.6 percent, while profit was up 15.5 percent year-over-year. In the rest of Europe, sales rose 18.6 percent -- Poland in particular saw a large sales increase, the company said. Profit in the rest of Europe fell 2.1 percent compared with last year.

In Asia, sales rose 8.6 percent, but the company’s Asian division swung to a loss of $9.5 million compared with earnings of $7.4 million in the same period last year. The losses in Asia, “reflect the lower sales growth and the impact from new regulations covering trading terms between retailers and suppliers,” the company said.

In other company news, Kingfisher’s group chief executive Gerry Murphy announced earlier this month that he would leave the company; no specific reason was given for his departure. A search is underway for his successor, the company said.

Kingfisher operates 760 stores in 10 countries, under banners including B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot and Screwfix.