Home improvement retailer Kingfisher reported a 20 per cent fall in 2022-23 profit after the pandemic drove a record outcome in the previous year, and forecast a further fall in its new financial year.
The group, which owns B&Q and Screwfix in Ireland and Britain, and Castorama and Brico Depot in France and other markets, said on Tuesday it made an adjusted pretax profit of £758 million (€864.9 million) in the year to January 31st, against guidance of £730-£760 million and the £949 million made in 2021-22.
Sales fell 0.7 per cent on a constant currency basis to £13.06 billion, with like-for-like sales down 2.1 per cent.
More people discovered or rediscovered do-it-yourself (DIY) during the Covid-19 crisis as they spent more time at home, had fewer leisure options and travelled less. In 2022 higher interest rates, inflation and higher energy bills put a squeeze on consumer spending both in the UK and Europe.
DIY sales continue to be supported by the working from home trend and customer investment in energy saving products.
Kingfisher, whose shares are up 16 per cent so far in 2023, said on Tuesday it was comfortable with analysts’ average forecast for adjusted pretax profit in 2023-24 of £633 million.
The group said it was seeing resilient underlying sales trends in its new financial year, with February like-for-like sales up 0.5 per cent and sales of “big-ticket” items such as kitchens and bathrooms broadly flat.
But the company said it expected some impact in March from adverse weather conditions and strong comparative numbers in Poland.
“We remain confident in both the growth of our industry, and in our strategic priorities supporting growth ahead of our markets,” said chief executive Thierry Garnier.
Kingfisher, which maintained its total dividend at 12.4 pence a share, also announced new medium-term financial priorities, focused on growth, cash generation and higher returns to shareholders.
It intends to announce a new share buyback programme following the completion of the existing £300 million programme this year. – Reuters