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Home improvement retailer Kingfisher enjoys warm weather boost

Home improvement retailer Kingfisher enjoys warm weather boost
A B&Q store is seen in London March 31, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth   -   Copyright  Stefan Wermuth(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – Kingfisher <KGF.L>, Europe’s second largest home improvement retailer, reported a pick-up in underlying sales in its latest quarter, with demand for seasonal products boosted by the prolonged spell of warm weather.

The group said it was pleased with the recovery at its B&Q and Screwfix businesses in Britain but said it had work to do to improve its French business Castorama, which continues to struggle.

Group like-for-like sales rose 1.6 percent in the three months to July 31, its second quarter period, rebounding from the fall of 4.0 percent in the first quarter, when sales were hit by winter snow storms.

At B&Q, warm weather boosted sales of hosepipes and sprinklers by 400 percent, while sales of charcoal for barbeques were up 75 percent, and the business sold out of paddling pools and shifted 305,000 fans.

Castorama remained weak, however, with underlying sales down 3.8 percent, broadly in line with the rate of decline it posted in the first quarter.

“In B&Q, Screwfix and Brico Depot France we delivered good sales growth,” Chief Executive Veronique Laury said. “However, the performance of Castorama France has been more difficult and as a result we have put additional actions in place to support our full year performance in France with the benefits expected to come through in the second half.”

The home improvement sector has been struggling in Britain in recent months, with rival Homebase shutting stores and Wickes, owned by Travis Perkins <TPK.L>, warning of tough trading, with particularly weak sales in kitchens and bathrooms.

Kingfisher, which across Europe trails France’s Groupe Adeo, said it was on track to deliver on its targets for this year.

(Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by Kate Holton)

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