B&Q owner Kingfisher sees profits surge and hikes dividend as Britons splash out on new kitchens and bathrooms

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B&Q owner Kingfisher saw its profits jump over 60 per cent in its first half, as the do-it-yourself boom triggered by the pandemic continued.

The group, which also owns Screwfix, has upped its sales forecast for the second half of the year and raked in a profit of £669million in the six months to the end of July.

The FTSE 100-listed group has hiked its interim dividend by nearly 40 per cent, from 2.75p a share to 3.80p a share. 

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It will also return £300million to shareholders via share buyback programme, ‘reflecting strong cash generation and confidence in outlook’. 

The group said it conducted ‘tens of thousands’ of virtual showroom planning sessions for new kitchens and bathrooms since the start of 2021. 

Kingfisher’s sales increased by 22.2 per cent on a constant currency basis to £7.1billion over the period, with like-for-like sales up 22.8 per cent and up 21.3 per cent on a two-year basis. Online sales climbed 21 per cent over the period.

‘We have navigated well through the challenging operational impacts of the pandemic, retaining good product availability at competitive prices and operating safely,’ boss Thierry Garnier said.

On supply chain issues, Kingfisher said: ‘We are facing significant operational pressures arising due to the pandemic, including product supply and availability, shipping and logistics, and cost price inflation, which have been managed effectively to date.’

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Shares in the company are currently down 2.84 per cent or 10.45p to 357.56p. But, over the past year the group’s share price has risen by over 35 per cent. 

The group said it now expects a dip in sales in its second half to be smaller than initially expected. It is now forecasting its second half sales to slip by 7 per cent, against previous predictions of between 5 and 15 per cent.

Kingfisher expects its full-year profit to come in at between £901million to £950million, against analyst forecasts of around £912million.  

Garnier said: ‘Our industry is benefiting from new trends that we believe will be supportive over the long term. 

‘These include people spending more time working from home, the emergence of a new generation of DIY’ers, the need for greener homes, and a strong housing market. Kingfisher is well placed to capitalise on these trends and deliver sustained outperformance.’

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: ‘For the most part, tailwinds persist for Kingfisher as the “new normal” continues to evolve.’

He added: ‘The results are coming up against increasingly tough comparatives, as evidenced by levels of current trading. In terms of these numbers, the first quarter was significantly stronger than the second, and the initial weeks of the third quarter are also suffering from slower growth.

‘In addition, Kingfisher is in the centre of the current supply chain blockages, impacting product supply and availability, and cost inflation which is affecting many sectors at present. More broadly, the lingering effects of the pandemic in many of its regions add an element of caution to its outlook.’ 

On the firm’s share price performance, Hunter, said: ‘The share price has seen a boost of 36% over the last year, as compared to a gain of 19% for the wider FTSE100.

‘Indeed, since the lows of March 2020 the price has added over 190%, propelling the company back into the premier index last June. With much progress made and yet still much to do, the market consensus of the shares as a hold suggests that the price may be up with events for now.’

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