B&Q shake-up ploughs ahead

A B&Q branch
A B&Q branch
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​B&Q parent Kingfisher said it was ploughing on with a shake-up plan “at pace” as it reported a first quarter slide in sales at the DIY chain.

The retailer s​aid like-for-like sales ​fell 1.1​ per cent​ across B&Q UK and Ireland in the 13 weeks to May 2, with sales of outdoor seasonal and building products down by ​four per cent​.

A better performance from its trade-focused building supplies chain Screwfix, where like-for-like sales leapt 15.4​ per cent​, helped the group’s overall UK and Ireland division to increase comparable sales by 1.6​ per cent.​

Chief executive Veronique Laury, who took over from Sir Ian Cheshire in December, said the group was making “good progress” with its overhaul.

She announced in March that as many as 60 stores over the next two years would be closed, affecting around 3,000 jobs in the UK and Ireland - one of a number of “sharp” decisions as part of a revamp plan.

On unveiling the latest sales figures, she said: “Our first ‘sharp’ decisions are being worked on at pace.”

​​The group added it has agreements to offload around a quarter of the stores earmarked for closure.