Kingfisher, parent company of the B&Q and Screwfix brands, has posted its full year results and – thanks to a booming home improvements market, says its emerging from the Covid-19 crisis as a stronger business.
In contrast to many struggling retailers trading in 2020, when much of Europe was in and out of lockdowns, the DIY giant has reported big increases in both sales and profits.
To the year ending 31 January 2021, the group – which operates 1,380 stores in eight countries, achieved total sales of £12.3bn, up 7.2 per cent. In the UK and Ireland, home to the majority of stores, like-for-like sales were strongest, rising by 10.7 per cent.
Online sales almost doubled across the group, accounting for nearly one in five of all purchases (from 8 per cent to 18 per cent of annual sales), while click and collect orders rocketed by 226 per cent.
Adjusted pre-tax profits were £786 million, up 44 per cent from £544 million the previous year.
Thierry Garnier, chief executive officer of Kingfisher, said: “The dedication and commitment of our 80,000 colleagues has enabled us to make substantial strategic, operational and financial progress this year.
“Kingfisher is coming out of the COVID crisis as a stronger business, with an improved competitive position in all key markets, strong new customer growth and a step-change in digital adoption.
“I would like to express my personal thanks to all our teams for their incredible efforts in the most testing of circumstances.
“Current trading remains positive and, while visibility is limited for the year as a whole, we are confident of continued outperformance of our wider markets.
“The COVID crisis has established new longer-term trends that are clearly supportive for our industry – including more working from home, the renewed importance of the home as a ‘hub’, and the development of a new generation of DIY’ers – and we expect these to endure.
“With our strategic progress, we are well-positioned to capitalise on these new and positive market trends.”
Commenting on the results, Elle Nadal, director of marketing – EMEA at cross channel marketing platform Iterable, said: “B&Q’s success is a lesson in the shifting tides of consumer demand. A year ago, few would have predicted the DIY boom that has swept over the UK in the last 12 months. With many of us now working remotely, consumers have embraced the simple pleasures of making a house a home.”
“B&Q has built up a strong reputation as a go-to destination for customers seeking to fill lockdown with DIY. Personalisation is key to its success: whether engaging and guiding a novice on their first steps or quickly connecting a seasoned expert with the products they need for a project.”
“The DIY sector has certainly benefited during the pandemic from its status as ‘essential’, allowing shops to remain open with a safe in-store experience for customers who need it. However, the uplift in online sales across Kingfisher group points to the growing importance of eCommerce channels during the pandemic.
“Looking ahead, businesses are likely to increasingly pursue a hybrid model: combining the best of brick-and-mortar with the convenience of digital retail.”