B&Q owner Kingfisher profits hit by wet weather

B&Q store
Image caption Wet weather hit sales of seasonal products last year, Kingfisher said

Kingfisher, owner of the B&Q DIY chain, has posted a big fall in profits after what it described as "a tough year".

Pre-tax profits for the 12 months to the end of January were down 11.4% to £715m compared with a year earlier.

Kingfisher blamed weak consumer confidence, unfavourable currency exchange rates, and bad UK weather hitting sales of "seasonal products".

Kingfisher is the third largest DIY retailer in the world, with more than 1,000 stores in eight countries.

It trades as B&Q and Screwfix in the UK, Castorama and Brico Depot in France, and also has a significant presence in Poland. It has invested in joint ventures in Turkey and Germany.

Sales were down 2.4% across all markets, the group said. In the UK, a wet summer was estimated to have cost B&Q £25m, with fewer customers visiting stores.

Declining markets

Adverse exchange rates also affected profits made in euros or the Polish zloty when converted into sterling, Kingfisher said.

Chief executive Ian Cheshire said the company expected market conditions to remain challenging.

"We have had a tough year, impacted by unfavourable foreign exchange, record adverse weather in the UK and declining underlying markets in each of our three key territories," he said.

"Looking ahead, although we expect market conditions to remain challenging... I remain very confident in our prospects, with clear initiatives underway to make it easier for our customers to have better and more sustainable homes."

Kingfisher is planning to boost profitability by buying more goods from cheaper sources, such as China.

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