B&Q owner Kingfisher has been keeping warm with skyrocketing energy costs and rising orders for insulation products.
- Kingfisher’s total sales grew 1.7% at constant currency levels to £3.26bn.
- Gas and electricity bills for homes and businesses have skyrocketed in the past year
- Trading was affected by unusually hot weather in Britain and France last month.
Kingfisher has continued to post strong sales results as high electricity and gas prices led to increased demand for insulation products.
Britain’s largest home improvement retailer, which runs the B&Q hardware chain, reported increased orders for central heating controls, thermostatic radiator valves and smart room thermostats at its Screwfix stores.
This helped overall group turnover grow 1.7 per cent at constant currency levels to £3.26bn in the three months to October, despite European countries facing more challenging economic circumstances.
Weaker trade: B&Q owner Kingfisher reported increased orders for central heating controls, thermostatic valves for radiators and smart room thermostats at its Screwfix stores
Thierry Garnier, Kingfisher’s chief executive, said the sales were supported by the pandemic-induced trend of working from home and the looming need for consumers to save money on energy bills.
Energy costs for homes and businesses have skyrocketed in the past 12 months following the easing of lockdown and travel restrictions and Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Consequently, more consumers and businesses have sought building materials such as insulation and wall panels that can trap more heat indoors, particularly in Britain, which has some of the draftiest properties in Western Europe.
Screwfix revenue increased 4.9% to £610m, driven by strong demand from commercial customers, market share expansion and the opening of 19 new stores, including its first two stores in France.
Kingfisher’s performance in Poland was particularly strong, with sales up 10.5% to £447m thanks to increased orders for new kitchens and weather-related categories.
The company’s turnover grew in all markets, although it admitted that operations were affected by unusually hot weather that hit Britain and France in October.
In addition, the retailer said demand was further affected by Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in mid-September and widespread fuel strikes that caused shortages at service stations across France.
Prior to these events, Kingfisher had already begun to see the Covid-induced DIY boom fading as Brits spent more time outdoors and cost-of-living pressures mounted.
However, worsening inflationary pressures have led more people to buy goods that could potentially dramatically reduce the size of their gas and electricity bills in the long run.
The firm also said it had started energy-saving services, partly to advise customers on which products to buy, with B&Q seeing 1,000 bookings within three days of launching the scheme.
Garnier commented: “With our customers facing rising costs of living, we are determined to make home improvement affordable and accessible, particularly through our own exclusive brands, which account for 45 percent of our sales.
“While we continue to monitor macroeconomic uncertainty, we remain confident both in the resilience of our industry and in continuing to grow ahead of our markets.”
Despite the upbeat outlook, Kingfisher lowered its pre-tax annual profit forecast to £730m to £760m due to higher energy prices and wages, and investment in new Screwfix sites in France.
Kingfisher Actions they were down 2 percent at 248.5 pence on Thursday afternoon, meaning their value has fallen by around 24 percent over the past year.