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Britain's Kingfisher lifts profit view on pandemic DIY boom

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LONDON (Reuters) -British home improvement retailer Kingfisher on Thursday raised its profit outlook as it continued to benefit from robust demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group, which owns B&Q and Screwfix in the United Kingdom and Castorama and Brico Depot in France and other markets, said like-for-like sales soared 64.2% year-on-year in the three months to April 30, its fiscal first quarter.

It said like-for-like sales were up 22.5% compared with the same period two years ago – before the crisis started to disrupt trading last year.

Kingfisher said growth had slowed in its second quarter so far as comparative numbers got considerably tougher, with like-for-like sales up 8.2% year-on-year in the period to May 15.

The group raised its forecast for first half 2021-22 like-for-like sales growth to “mid-to-high teens” from “low double-digit” previously and now expects first half adjusted pretax profit to be in the range of 580 million to 600 million pounds ($818-$847 million).

For the second half Kingfisher maintained its guidance for like-for-like sales to fall by between 5% and 15%, given harder comparative numbers and uncertainty over the macroeconomic and consumer environment.

For the full year the group is now aiming to grow adjusted pretax profit, excluding 85 million pounds of non-recurring cost savings, “ahead of sales”. Its previous guidance was “in line with sales”. It made 786 million pounds in 2020-21.

($1 = 0.7087 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Michael Holden & Simon Cameron-Moore)

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