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Kingfisher Second-Quarter Sales Rebound as Weather Warms Up

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July 24 (Bloomberg) -- Kingfisher Plc, Europe’s largest home-improvement retailer, said sales rebounded in the second quarter as warmer weather stoked demand for garden furniture, hoses and barbecues.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 2.5 percent in the 10 weeks ended July 13, the London-based company said today in a statement, following the prior quarter’s 4.2 percent drop. Same-store revenue gained in both the U.K. and France, where the retailer owns the market leading B&Q and Castorama chains.

Britain’s longest heat wave in 18 years provided a boost to business at the retailer, whose first-quarter sales had been affected by a period of unseasonably cool weather that deterred shoppers from outdoor projects. Kingfisher said today that first-half earnings should meet its expectations.

“While this beat is encouraging, it shows more the volatility driven by weather, soft comparisons and calendar effects, rather than clear evidence of an improvement in underlying demand,” Simon Irwin, an analyst at Credit Suisse in London, said by e-mail. He has an outperform recommendation.

Kingfisher was little changed at 384.5 pence at 8:08 a.m. The shares have risen 35 percent this year.

“Following a tough first quarter, I am pleased to report that we have been able to capitalize on the better weather conditions in the second quarter, particularly in the U.K.,” Chief Executive Officer Ian Cheshire said in the statement.

Same-store revenue gained 2.5 percent in the U.K. and Ireland, missing the median of 13 analysts’ estimates for 3 percent growth. Sales on that basis gained 1.2 percent at Castorama, and by 1 percent at the Brico Depot trade format in France, beating analyst estimates of declines for both.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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