Kingfisher increased sales and profits thanks to showroom sales at its B&Q subsidiary and the trialling of a new format
Sales at Kingfisher UK and Ireland rose 1.2% to £4.4bn for the year to January 30, 2010. Profits rose 64.5%, while sales at B&Q UK and Ireland grew 2.6% to £4bn. Kitchen and bathroom sales were up 7% as a result of investment in new ranges and showrooms, as well as the withdrawal of competitor MFI from the market at the beginning of the year.
Retail profit for the year rose by 79.4% to £195m, with gross margins rising for the second year in a row.
B&Q is also looking to expand its offer in to the trade market, with the successful trial of TradePoint stores in nine of its large UK branches. The 4,000 sq ft dedicated area has its own separate entrance, exit and payment area, with access restricted to TradePoint members who have been verified as genuine tradesmen.
There are currently 38 TradePoint stores with plans for a roll-out to a total of 118 B&Q stores.
The group’s previous foray into the trade market, the nine-strong Trade Depot chain, was closed at the end of 2008. Meanwhile Screwfix saw a 4.3% deline in sales in 2009 to £471m and opened nine new counters over the course of 2009, which, coupled with a decline in sales, resulted in a drop of £8m in retail profit to £22m.
Kingfisher group ceo Ian Cheshire said: “Looking ahead, we remain cautious on the outlook for consumer demand across Europe. However, we are confident that our experienced management team, successful international strategy and buying scale mean we will be able to drive continued growth through our own actions.”