Weather’s £25m hit on Kingfisher

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A triple-whammy of wet weather, weak consumer confidence and currency movements sent annual profits and sales falling at B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher yesterday.

The group said the second-wettest year on record in the UK wiped £25m from its profits by cutting customer numbers and sales of seasonal products.

Kingfisher, which has major operations in Europe, also took a £39m hit on the impact of translating euro and Polish zloty sales into sterling.

Chief executive Ian Cheshire said: “We have had a tough year, impacted by unfavourable foreign exchange, record adverse weather in the UK and declining underlying markets in each of our three key territories.”

But he said Kingfisher was “very confident” in its prospects as self-help meant it ended the year in “good shape”, including £38m of net cash on its balance sheet.

The group said pre-tax profits for the year to the start of February fell 13.3 per cent to £691m.

Like-for-like sales, measured at constant currency, fell 2.9 per cent to £10.6bn. Kingfisher has 633 B&Q and Screwfix stores in the UK and Ireland, employing more than 25,000 staff.

Underlying sales in the UK and Ireland slid 5.2 per cent during the year to £4.3bn. Only stores in Spain recorded a steeper sales slide during 2012, falling 6.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

Sixty new Screwfix stores opened during the year, helping the brand to grow total sales by 9.8 per cent to £577m. But sales at Screwfix stores open for more than a year fell 2 per cent.

It plans to open a net 50 new Screwfix stores in the UK this year, building on the 275 it already has.