HeraldScotland:

HELLO and welcome to the AM Business Briefing, as B&Q owner Kingfisher has seen sales drop as the pandemic-fuelled DIY boom lost steam, but it told investors it will nevertheless post profits at the top end of forecasts.

Shares in the company, which also owns Screwfix, dropped in early trading.

It revealed total revenues of £3.25 billion for the three months to October 31, following a 2.4% decline in like-for-like sales against the same period last year

The company failed to keep pace with the strong growth it saw last year as locked-up customers took the opportunity to spruce up their homes and gardens, but like-for-like sales were up 15% against pre-pandemic levels.

Kingfisher reported a 3.5% decline in like-for-like sales in the UK as it was weighed down by decline at B&Q.

The retail group said B&Q has seen "resilient demand" but it dropped against "very strong" comparative figures from last year.

HeraldScotland:

It hailed strong sales of outdoor, building and joinery items against pre-pandemic levels, while B&Q's trade-focused arm TradePoint saw continued growth.

B&Q also opened two new stores in the quarter, including concession within an Asda supermarket store.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 group was boosted by Screwfix, which posted a 4% jump in sales.

The trade tools and hardware retailer saw particularly strong demand and was boosted by its expansion, with the chain opening 11 new stores over the quarter.

Kingfisher added that it has seen a "strong start" to the fourth quarter and is positive about its profitability for the year.

It said it is on track to post adjusted pre-tax profits at the top end of its range of between £910 million and £950 million for the financial year,
Thierry Garnier, chief executive of Kingfisher, said: "Since the start of this year we have maintained, and in many cases improved, our product availability, which is amongst the best in our industry.

"This has supported our market share gains and allowed us to upweight promotional initiatives in the quarter.

"We have also continued to manage inflation pressures effectively, while retaining highly competitive pricing."

Shares in the company were 4.2% lower at 322.9p in early trading on Friday.

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