B&Q owner Kingfisher's profits down amid revamp
DIY giant Kingfisher has announced a 20.5% fall in statutory pre-tax profit as it reaches the halfway mark in its plan to close 65 B&Q stores.
Profit for 2015 was £512m, down from £644m in 2014.
Last year, it announced plans to close 65 B&Q stores in the UK and Ireland over two years.
In its latest statement, it said 30 of these had now shut down, with the remaining 35 to go in the next financial year.
In the company's preferred measure of adjusted pre-tax profit, which excludes restructuring costs, the firm saw a 0.3% rise in income to £686m.
Kingfisher said it was making "good early progress" on its "ONE Kingfisher" transformation plan, announced in January.
The aim of the plan is to increase annual pre-tax profits by £500m within five years and return £600m to shareholders.
"This has been a very productive and important year," said chief executive Veronique Laury, who admitted that the company's targets were "ambitious".
"However, based on the solid progress so far, and the competence and enthusiasm of our colleagues, we feel very confident in our ability to deliver."
Kingfisher's chief financial officer, Karen Witts, said the UK's economic backdrop remained "positive", but the firm was "cautious" on the outlook for France, where it owns Castorama and Brico Depot.
Sales in the UK and Ireland rose 5.6% over the year, thanks to "a stronger UK economy and a more buoyant housing construction market".
At the same time, sales in France went up 1.2%, "in a broadly flat market, impacted by ongoing weak consumer confidence and subdued housing and construction activity".