×

UPDATE 1-Sales at DIY group Kingfisher dented by weak French market

(Adds detail)

LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Kingfisher, Europe's largest home improvement retailer, reported a small fall in underlying sales in its latest quarter, with a weak performance in France only partially offset by strong growth at Screwfix in the UK and in Poland.

The firm, which runs B&Q and Screwfix in Britain and Castorama and Brico Depot in France and elsewhere, said on Tuesday it was comfortable with full-year 2017-18 consensus underlying pretax profit expectations of 785 million pounds ($1.04 billion), down from 787 million pounds in 2016-17.

Kingfisher is in the second year of a plan to boost annual profit by 500 million pounds ($663 million)from 2021. The plan, costing 800 million pounds over five years to deliver, includes unifying product ranges and improving e-commerce capabilities.

It said that plan was on track as it reported group like-for-like sales down 0.5 percent in the three months to Oct. 31, its fiscal third quarter, an improvement on a second quarter fall of 1.9 percent.

Like-for-like sales in Britain and Ireland rose 1.5 percent but they fell 4.1 percent in France.

In the UK the Screwfix chain continued to be the star performer with like-for-like sales up 10.2 percent. B&Q sales fell 1.9 percent. Like-for-like sales in Poland rose 6.0 percent.

"We remain confident in our ability to deliver our long-term plan and in the financial and customer benefits it will generate," said Chief Executive Véronique Laury.

"Early customer reaction to our new ranges continues to be encouraging."

Shares in Kingfisher have fallen 17 percent over the last year on concerns over the scale of the restructuring and the company's ability to deliver it. ($1 = 0.7545 pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)