Screwfix continues to expand across Europe

Screwfix owner Kingfisher saw a slight drop in sales in the third quarter of the year.

The company has sales of £3.2bn a drop of just over two per cent.

Kingfisher said underlying retail and trade consumer trends remain resilient in the UK and are improving in Poland.

Somerset based Screwfix enjoyed resilient underlying sales trends and increased its market share.

The company opened four Screwfix stores in France in the third quarter and Screwfix online launched in six new European markets.

Chief executive Thierry Garnier said: “Our UK banners performed well in the the third quarter, with B&Q, TradePoint and Screwfix growing sales and market share.

“In France, our performance was impacted by a weak retail market, as well as a delayed start to insulation, plumbing and heating sales – to which Brico Dépôt is more heavily weighted – due to unusually warm autumn weather, and strong prior year comparatives in these categories. In Poland we are seeing early signs of recovery in the trading trend, against an incrementally more positive consumer and economic backdrop. Reflecting the weakness of the French market, and notwithstanding our proactive cost actions, we have lowered our Group profit guidance for the full year.

“We continue to focus on our execution and driving our strategy forward. Our online marketplaces are growing rapidly, with B&Q’s marketplace reaching 35 per cent of its e-commerce sales in October. Screwfix has continued its international expansion, by launching as a pure-play online retailer in six new European countries, and opening four new stores in France in the quarter. We also continue to harness AI and data to support sales, profit and cash, including by growing our retail media proposition across the Group.

“As we move into 2024, we are focused on what is in our control. First, a continued focus on growing market share in the UK, France and Poland with delivery of our strategic growth initiatives. Second, driving productivity gains to offset wage inflation. And finally, delivering on our free cash flow and shareholder returns targets. We expect to see some product cost price inflation, albeit at a significantly lower level, and expect rational retail pricing and competitive price indices at all our banners.

“On the medium-to-longer term outlook, we remain very positive for home improvement growth in our markets, and our ability to grow ahead of our markets.”

The fourth quarter has started largely in line with the trends of including continued resilience in the UK.