B&Q owner buoyed by lock­down home im­prove­ment drive

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Si­mon Foy and Laura Onita

A POST-LOCK­DOWN DIY boom has boosted sales at B&Q owner King­fisher, spark­ing a pledge from bosses to re­pay £23m of fur­lough cash handed out by the Gov­ern­ment.

Pre-tax prof­its at the com­pany hit £398m in the six months to the end of July, up 62pc on a year ear­lier.

This was fu­elled by strong sales in the sec­ond quar­ter, when like-for-like rev­enues – which strip out new store open­ings – jumped by a fifth as cus­tomers con­fined in­doors took up home im­prove­ment projects to pass the time.

Sales have held up since, chief ex­ec­u­tive Thierry Garnier said, helped partly by a stamp duty cut that has driven a boom in the prop­erty mar­ket.

The firm put 50pc of staff on tax­payer-funded fur­lough schemes across Europe af­ter shut­ting swathes of stores at the height of the Covid cri­sis, but is now re­turn­ing money it re­ceived from the Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment.

King­fisher was boosted by a 19pc in­crease in on­line rev­enues. To­tal sales fell 1.3pc to £5.92bn.

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