Kingfisher’s U.K. Sales Decline Eases, Led by Garden Furniture

Kingfisher Plc (KGF), Europe’s largest home-improvement retailer, said a sales decline eased in the U.K. as warm weather boosted sales of outdoor furniture, and reported third-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates.

Sales at U.K. and Irish stores open at least a year fell 0.7 percent in the 13 weeks ended Oct. 29, from the same period a year earlier, the London-based company said today. That was better than the first-half’s 1.5 percent drop. So-called retail profit rose 14 percent to 273 million pounds ($428 million), beating the 263 million-pound average of seven estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The owner of the B&Q and Screwfix brands said sales of outdoor seasonal products rose 12 percent, helped by warm late- summer weather. Kingfisher also benefited from the collapse of competitor Focus DIY. The retailer acquired 29 former Focus stores and converted 27 to the B&Q format in the quarter.

“The short-term outlook in our major markets remains challenging, but Kingfisher is in good shape, and we are more able to drive market share gains, profit growth and higher cash returns,” Chief Executive Officer Ian Cheshire said in the statement.

Same-store sales growth in France slowed to 1.9 percent, from 4.5 percent in the first half. The retailer is modernizing its Castorama stores, adding new ranges and rolling out a ‘Do It Smart’ campaign to make home improvement easier for customers.

Kingfisher rose 2.2 percent to 255.6 pence in London trading yesterday, paring this year’s decline to 3 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Shannon in London at sshannon4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sara Marley at smarley1@bloomberg.net

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