Business

Weak French sales and restructuring costs hit Kingfisher

Screwfix store Image copyright Screwfix

Shares in Kingfisher, the owner of B&Q and Screwfix, have slumped after revenues were hit by weak French sales and restructuring costs.

Kingfisher shares were the worst performer on the London stock market in early trade, falling more than 6%.

In the first three months of the year sales dropped 0.6% in stores open for at least 12 months.

Sales in its French chains Castorama and Brico Depot fell 5.5%. The firm is cautious about future prospects there.

However, sales at its UK Screwfix business surged 12.6%, or by 20.3% when newly opened stores were included.

Total group sales, including those at newly opened stores, were up 5% to £2.86bn.

Five-year plan

In January 2016 Kingfisher chief executive Veronique Laury announced a five-year plan that aimed to increase profits by £500m.

That plan will cost £800m to deliver, including a revamp of its IT and online presence.

Announcing the latest results, Ms Laury said: "We remain confident in the size of the prize and our ability to deliver our long-term plan.

"Strong performance in Screwfix and Poland continues, though performance in France remains weak.

"In addition, we are experiencing some business disruption given the volume of change, as we clear old ranges, remerchandise new ranges and continue the roll out of our unified IT platform."

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