What to do during a pandemic? B&Q owner Kingfisher has done well out of the pandemic as consumers have found reasons and savings to tart up their homes and gardens. Q3 numbers suggest the trend has not waned, but it may not persist at these levels for much longer. Total group sales rose 17.6 per cent to £3.5bn, with like-for-like sales +12.6 per cent. Home doer-uppers were the driver with B&Q LFLs +24 per cent on constant currency basis, whilst trade desks at Screwfix saw sales at +12.8 per cent on the same basis. Total UK & Ireland sales +19.9 per cent compared with +19.2 per cent in France, +7.5 per cent in Poland, +10.6 per cent in Romania and +18.1 per cent in Iberia. Whilst uncertainty over Covid-19 and the impact of temporary lockdown restrictions in most of its markets continue to limit the near-term visibility, management feel that consumers’ “renewed focus on homes” is supportive for sales. Whilst this may be true in the near-term, shares have already handsomely since the March lows and sales momentum is unlikely to continue through 2021 as vaccines enable a return to more normal activities. KGF may have experienced a significant pull-forward in demand that won’t continue. Shares declined almost 4 per cent in early trade before paring losses to track –2 per cent.
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