Severe winter weather with snow and ice is preventing travel and is expected to take its toll on retail business. Philip Dorgan, Panmure Gordon's retailing expert, takes a downbeat view of B&Q owner Kingfisher and has cut his profit forecasts slashing his current year earnings forecast to £700m from £730m and to £726m from £759m for next year.

Mr Dorgan believes that B&Q will have seen a continuation of declining like-for-like sales in the fourth quarter and expects a 6% decline after the 4% fall in the third-quarter and 2.5% in the comparable period last year.

He believes consumers will batten down the hatches in the first few months of the year and does not expect the shares to perform until the downgrade cycle comes to an end, which may be several months away.