Kingfisher has benefitted from elevated demand for home improvement since lockdown began as consumers continue to carry out DIY projects such as painting and decorating, as well as gardening.
In the UK and Ireland, the 14.7% decline in total sales to £1.095bn was not as steep as it might have been, as high demand meant sales shifted online as stores closed. Screwfix performed particularly well over the three months, with sales falling by only 0.1% to £432m, despite stores being closed since 23 March. Kingfisher’s group sales declined 24.0% to £2.155bn, dragged down by its performance in Iberia (where stores remain closed) and France, with sales declining 47.2% and 42% in these territories respectively.
Improvements in online capabilities, such as the introduction of contactless click and collect and home delivery services, have helped support Kingfisher amid store closures, with group online sales rising 251.7% in April. However, the group’s decision to reopen some stores at the end of April, followed by all stores in May, with social distancing and safety measures in place, is wise as this will help it better capitalise on the high demand. Although all Screwfix stores and eight B&Q stores in Ireland remain closed, all B&Q stores in the UK are now open, resulting in a 18.9% uplift in the UK and Ireland l-f-ls in the first week of May.
B&Q benefitted from being the first DIY specialist to reopen stores, but with all Homebase stores now open, and other DIY specialists such as Wickes opening stores on a trial basis, the retailer must focus on building the confidence of its customers to retain footfall.