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Screwfix fails to prop up flailing B&Q fascia

Kingfisher UK & Ireland reported a weak set of results for Q2 2017/18, with sales down 2.0% to £1,332m. However, the DIY specialist came up against strong comparatives last year (+5.1%), driven by its Screwfix business continuing to extend its specialist ranges and opening new outlets. While Screwfix’s sales grew 17.2% to £365m this quarter, growth has slowed compared to historical performance (24.5% Q2 2016/17). As a result, Screwfix’s sales were unable to negate the woeful performance of B&Q.

Sales for B&Q fell 7.7% in Q2 2017/18 to £967m. The business was impacted by the unseasonably good weather in Q1, which brought consumers’ spend forward. However, having rationalised its estate, closing 65 stores since February 2015, B&Q must now focus on rejuvenating its remaining stores; this entails transforming some to its new big-box format, which features new product ranges, and creating an appealing shopping experience to drive footfall to stores.

Internationally, Poland continues to perform well, growing 4.0% on a l-f-l basis; the only country to achieve positive l-f-l sales growth in this quarter. This was supported by favourable market conditions and growth in non-seasonal ranges, including its showrooms, an area that is underperforming in the UK.

With Kingfisher now in year two of its five-year transformation programme, it still has some way to go with unifying its range across fasciae and strengthening its online proposition within B&Q, which underperforms online compared to Screwfix. This will be essential if it is to compete with the entrance of Bunnings in the UK, threatening Kingfisher’s leading position in the market. H2 2017/18 is expected to be tough, with the overall DIY market set to suffer from falling housing transaction volumes and low consumer confidence. Kingfisher must bring B&Q back to growth through improving the customer experience and product ranges to maintain its leading position in the DIY market.

Source: GlobalData, 17th August 2017

August 2017

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