Kingfisher profits rise

Published:  17 September, 2010

LONDON: B&Q owner Kingfisher, Europe's largest DIY retailer, beat profit forecasts with cost cutting that it said would help it through potentially tough times ahead.

The company, which also operates Castorama in France, saw interim pre-tax profits rise 21.9% to £351m on sales down 1% to £5.45bn.

Sales had been especially weak in the UK, but Kingfisher had a programme of "self-help" measures to cut costs.

Chief executive Ian Cheshire said the consumer spending outlook was fragile. This was particularly the case in the UK, where trading conditions were "likely to remain challenging for some time", he said.

"Our continued profit growth will come from our well-established self-help initiatives."

In Kingfisher's 330 UK stores, a limited use of sales offers to protect margins, combined with cost efficiencies, meant a 15% rise in B&Q's profits to £158m.

Kingfisher, which runs more than 830 stores in eight countries, has been cutting costs by sourcing more products centrally, and directly, from cheaper manufacturing countries such as China.

In early trading, Kingfisher shares rose 0.7% to 220.40p.

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