B&Q owner Kingfisher to launch £300m share buyback after DIY boom lifts sales

·2-min read
Kingfisher owns the B&Q chain (B&Q and Kingfisher)
Kingfisher owns the B&Q chain (B&Q and Kingfisher)

B&Q and Screwfix owner Kingfisher will launch a £300 million share buyback after the pandemic DIY boom helped sales to swell above pre-Covid levels.

The FTSE 100 retail company saw pre-tax profit surge 70.6% to £677 million in the six months to July. The return of money to shareholders reflects “strong cash generation and confidence in outlook”, Kingfisher said.

A interim dividend per share of 3.8p was declared, up from 2.75p.

The firm was boosted as people in lockdown made the most of time at home and undertook DIY projects. Kingfisher chief executive Thierry Garnier said: "Our industry is benefiting from new trends that we believe will be supportive over the long term.”

He added: “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."

Total sales in the first half rose 19.9% to £7.1 billion, and comparable sales leapt 22.8% and were up 21.3% from the same period in 2019.

UK and Ireland sales jumped, and digital growth continued.

In the second half the company does not expect to match the bumper growth seen a year earlier, and is guiding for like for like declines of between 7% and 3%. That is improved from its previous expectations of a 15% to 5% fall, and would still be ahead of pre-Covid levels.

The firm added that like other business it is grappling with headwinds. 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.”

Garnier said the group has been placing orders “significantly” ahead of peak trading periods.

Future plans include opening Screwfix’s first branch in France, and increasing investment in digital.

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