B&Q makeover on track as Screwfix grows

Screwfix expansion to aid falling profits for B&Q. Picture: Michael Baister
Screwfix expansion to aid falling profits for B&Q. Picture: Michael Baister
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THE owner of DIY chain B&Q revealed a fall in half-year profits yesterday, but insisted its turnaround was on track and unveiled plans to ramp up expansion of its Screwfix building supplies arm.

Kingfisher posted a 2.3 per cent fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £384 million for the six months to 1 August as it took a currency hit and saw comparable store sales for its B&Q arm flag, edging 0.7 per cent higher after a disappointing performance for outdoor seasonal goods in the peak summer season.

But its trade-focused Screwfix business continued to power ahead, with like-for-like sales leaping 16.5 per cent higher thanks to a buoyant housebuilding sector.

Recently-appointed chief executive Veronique Laury, who took over from Sir Ian Cheshire in December, now aims to add nearly 200 outlets to the Screwfix chain, boosting it from 412 as part of a group-wide overhaul.

But she has already announced some “sharp” decisions affecting the B&Q business, including closing as many as 60 B&Q stores over the next two years.