Kingfisher plc, the parent company of B&Q and Screwfix, saw like-for-like sales fall 3% in the 13 weeks to January 30.
However, expects the adjusted full year pre-tax profit to be up strongly on the previous year.
Sales in the UK & Ireland were £949m, a like-for-like fall of 3.9%.
B&Q total sales fell by 1.6% to £836 million (-3.5% LFL) reflecting the adverse weather in January with all categories displaying similar trends. Gross margins are expected to be strongly up reflecting reduced promotional activity than at the same time last year, as well as better sales of higher margin products.
Screwfix’s total sales fell 1.4% to £113 million, helped by the continued roll-out of trade counters.
Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive, said: “Underlying sales trends remained relatively resilient in the fourth quarter before trading in January was significantly disrupted by the heavy snow and low temperatures across Europe, particularly in the UK and Poland. However, our on-going programme of self-help initiatives on gross margin and costs resulted in strong quarterly profit growth and so we expect our full year earnings will be slightly ahead of current analyst consensus expectations when we announce our annual results next month.
“After what has been a busy and productive year I am pleased that we now have a stronger balance sheet, a very experienced leadership team and a clear set of well-established ‘Delivering Value’ initiatives to drive higher cash returns and future growth.”