B&Q owner buoyed by lockdown home improvement drive
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.