Wet summer blamed for Q2 dip in sales at B&Q

Like-for-like sales fell by 4.7%
Like-for-like sales fell by 4.7%

Sales at B&Q tumbled in the second quarter, with the firm blaming wetter than usual summer weather for the slump.

Figures posted by the retailer’s parent firm Kingfisher show like-for-like sales at the DIY chain fell 4.7% in the three months to July 31.

Total sales at B&Q fell 7.7% to £967 million and come alongside a slowing housing market in the UK following the Brexit vote.

Kingfisher also pinned the fall on tough comparatives from last year and a strong first quarter in 2017, when better weather meant shoppers bought seasonal products early.

CEO Veronique Laury, who has been overseeing a turnaround at the firm, said: “The second quarter has broadly followed a similar course to first quarter although B&Q’s performance was impacted by seasonal swings.

“We have also continued to experience some disruption across the businesses, although on an improving trend.

“Availability of this year’s unified and unique product is now approaching normal levels.”

She added that Kingfisher remains “cautious” on the economic outlook, with the firm having previously flagged Brexit as creating uncertainty in the market.

Total like-for-like sales fell 1% in the UK, while the group as a whole recorded a 1.9% fall.

Kingfisher also saw sales slip in France, where it trades as Castorama and Brico Depot and where the housing market has also stuttered.

However, one bright spot is again expected to be Screwfix, which saw like-for-like sales rise 10.8%.

The trade-focused chain has been the stand-out performer for Kingfisher of late, regularly clocking up double-digit sales increases.

In March, Kingfisher signalled it had finished its B&Q store closure programme, which has seen it shut 65 shops and slash around 3,000 jobs in the UK and Ireland over the last two years.