Kingfisher reports drop in pre-tax profits

<p>The DIY group behind B&Q and Screwfix continues with its restructuring plans.</p>

Kingfisher, the group behind DIY brands B&Q and Screwfix has announced plans to open another 200 Screwfix stores in the UK.

The company currently has 412 Screwfix UK stores – these supply a range of tools, plumbing and electrical equipment.

While the firm is planning on expanding one part of its business, it's also looking to scale back in other ares. As part of its restructuring plans, it's working on closing around 60 B&Q stores – this should be completed by the end of the 2016-17 financial year.

Recent financial results for the group saw pre-tax profits drop 1.8 per cent to £386 million for the half-year to August first. Total sales during the period fell by 4.8 per cent to £5.49 billion.

"Solid" first half

Commenting on the results, chief executive Veronique Laury said she was pleased.

"We have delivered a solid first half of the year," she explained, adding that there is still a lot that needs to be done.

As well as shutting B&Q locations and expanding the Screwfix business, Kingfisher also plans to cut back on the 393,000 products it sells. The firm has reported that only 7,000 items – amounting to seven per cent of sales – are sold in at least two of the operating companies.

Kingfisher says the Screwfix brand "continues to deliver strong growth" in the UK market. In the first half of the year, like-for-like sales rose 16.5 per cent to 494 million. Sales were driven by strong growth from trade desks for plumbers and electricians. Digital and mobile growth also helped the brand, as well as new and extended ranges and new outlets.

In addition, the company has expanded to Germany and "has been well received".

B&Q's results were not as strong, with like-for-like sales going up by just 0.7 per cent. This year, the company plans to close 30 stores – the two-year restructuring plan is expected to cost the company £350 million.

Kingfisher also runs Castorama and Brico Depot in France and other countries.

At 16:01 BST on Tuesday (September 15th), shares in the company were down 2.47 per cent to 351.40.

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