Europe ' s top home-improvement retailer Kingfisher has reported a solid uplift in turnover for the year but warned that inclement weather in northern Europe had dampened trading during the first quarter.
Pre-tax profits rose in line with City expectations, climbing by 17.5 per cent in the year to January 29.
This represented an increase from £570.8 million in 2004 to a pretax profit of £670.9 million by early 2005.
The jump in turnover, though more modest, remained healthy, increasing by 8 . 1 per cent, to £7.75 billion.
Kingfisher is the third largest home improvement group in the world, with nearly 600 stores in nine countries in Europe and Asia.
Its main retail brands are B&Q, Castorama, Brico D>pUt and Screwfix Direct. Kingfisher also has a 21 per cent interest in, and alliance with, Hornbach, Germany's leading DIY warehouse retailer, with 117 stores across Europe.
Gerry Murphy, chief executive, said: "Overall, Kingfisher made solid progress in the year with sales up ten per cent, pretax profits up more than 16 per cent and with return on invested capital continuing to improve." Concerning the UK and Ireland stores, he said: "In the UK, B&Q delivered good profit growth, though its sales in the second half were affected by slowing growth in consumer spending and a price competitive and promotional market."
He also said B& Q's enhanced ranges of kitchens, bathrooms, electricals and joinery performed well, but seasonal sales were weak all year.