B&Q parent Kingfisher reports strong post-lockdown momentum

B&Q owner Kingfisher has reported positive sales momentum, ahead of revealing its half-year results announcement.

Since stores reopened after their coronavirus-enforced temporary closure, the DIY retail group has experienced strong demand across its markets, with second quarter like-for-like sales to 18 July up 21.6% year-on-year. In the year to date, group LFL sales are down 3.7%, though, reflecting the more subdued sales period when stores were closed due to the pandemic.

Kingfisher broke down its trading activity month-by-month, with May like-for-like sales up 14.3% and June’s up 25.1% compared to 2019. Both months saw eCommerce sales rise by more than 200% versus the previous year, as the business ramped up its digital operations during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in Europe.

Group like-for-like sales were up by more than 20% in each week of July so far, with eCommerce like-for-like trading dipping slightly during that time – albeit still at almost 200% year-on-year growth on average.

Following the company's performance since lockdown was lifted, it now anticipates half-year adjusted pre-tax profit will be ahead of the same period in 2019.

In June, Kingfisher unveiled its new strategy that it hopes will turn around its fortunes under CEO Thierry Garnier, who joined the business late last year. Digital is a key focus for all its brands, including B&Q and Screwfix in the UK.

“Our clear intent is to become a more digital and service orientated company, using our strong store assets as a platform,” he said at the time.

“We will continue to develop our own exclusive brands as a differentiator, cater for diverse local customer needs and each retail banner will have its own positioning and plan. We will ‘power’ these banners as a group. This is our new strategic direction, ‘Powered by Kingfisher.”

The business is looking to grow eCommerce as a percentage of overall group sales, improve click & collect across the organisation, and develop a more mobile-oriented proposition. Against that backdrop, Kingfisher appointed former Morrisons head of mobile and ex-John Lewis digital boss, Sienne Veit, as group digital product and platform director.

She joins a host of other senior tech and digital-related hires at the group in recent months.