B&Q-owner Kingfisher sees profits rise

B&Q store
Image caption B&Q said it was operating in a challenging environment

B&Q owner Kingfisher has seen a 22.5% rise in annual profit to £670m.

Europe's biggest home improvement retailer, which also owns Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said it now planned to step up expansion.

Earnings were helped by buying more goods centrally and directly from manufacturing centres.

"Although I see no let up in the challenging environment in the short-term, I am excited by our future prospects," said boss Ian Cheshire.

Not long after the open of the London stock market shares in Kingfisher were ahead by 5% at 255.90 pence.

Profits were up in the UK and France, and there was strong profit growth in Spain and Turkey.

The firm also said it had reduced its losses in China.

Overall sales were down 0.5% to £10.5bn.

The group said it saw scope to expand its store network in existing markets to more than 1,100 from 856, as well as opening up in new countries.

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