B&Q sales rocket as locked-down consumers spruce up their homes

Locked-down consumers doing up their homes have given B&Q owner Kingfisher a lift as sales jumped over the past three months.

By Scott Reid
Thursday, 19th November 2020, 9:47 am
Updated Thursday, 19th November 2020, 9:47 am
UK sales were 21.5 per cent higher during the period, with B&Q posting 23.9 per cent revenue growth as it saw particularly strong sales for outdoor products. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
UK sales were 21.5 per cent higher during the period, with B&Q posting 23.9 per cent revenue growth as it saw particularly strong sales for outdoor products. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Total group sales jumped 17.6 per cent to £3.5 billion for the quarter to October 31, with a 17.4 per cent increase in like-for-like sales.

The group, which also runs Screwfix in the UK, saw like-for-like sales growth cool to 12.6 per cent in the first weeks of the current quarter as it was impacted by a tightening of Covid restrictions across Europe. It noted that all of its stores remain open to customers despite lockdown measures, due to their essential trading status.

The company also told investors that it has rapidly grown its online business during the pandemic, with e-commerce sales up 153 per cent in the third quarter.

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UK sales were 21.5 per cent higher during the period, with B&Q posting 23.9 per cent revenue growth as it saw particularly strong sales for outdoor products. Screwfix delivered 17.4 per cent growth as it continued to have solid sales with trade customers.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: “A lack of travel and more time in the new office at home have both played into Kingfisher’s hands, where sales continue to rocket.

“As with many other companies in the current environment, a previously announced transformation plan has been vastly accelerated through necessity. For Kingfisher, this has resulted in a jump in e-commerce sales of 153 per cent as the company gears up its offering at pace.

“The explosion of sales has brought other challenges, however, most notably to the supply chain where the increased volumes and a pandemic-related strain on logistics and delivery has been an issue.

“The situation is likely to last for a further six months, although Kingfisher remains committed to improving the situation where possible at particular pressure points.

“Further out, the challenges of the new normality remain to be seen.”

Kingfisher chief executive Thierry Garnier said: “We achieved strong sales growth in the third quarter across all retail banners and categories, with higher footfall and average transaction value.

“Our growth was supported by strong market demand, as consumers spent more time in their homes and focused on improving them.

“Overall, we believe that the renewed focus on homes is supportive for our markets. Furthermore, we are confident that the strategic and operational actions we have taken so far are helping us to build a strong foundation for long-term growth.”

Adam Vettese, analyst at eToro, noted: “Up until now, Kingfisher has struggled to capitalise on the DIY boom that has gripped the nation since coronavirus first struck.

“While it beat expectations and posted a profit in the first half of the year, the B&Q owner’s sales were a disappointment and it seemed as though it had missed out on a golden opportunity to gain from the renewed interest in self-completed home maintenance projects.

“However, it has clearly got its act together in the third quarter, as evidenced by strong sales across all of the countries it operates in.”

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Watch: Long queues outside B&Q as stores start to reopen across Scotland

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