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Irish Economic Crisis - Kingfisher takes hit

B&Q-owner Kingfisher were counting the cost of Irish economic problems today, as the country's woes hit the bottom lines of major UK-listed companies.

Kingfisher reported a hit, with B&Q UK Ireland's total sales down 4.7% to £924m for the third quarter of 2010. Ian Cheshire, chief executive, said the group had been hit by a significant downturn in its Irish business.

"Obviously it's been pretty profoundly affected, as most retailers in Ireland will tell you, so it's seen a significant downturn. But we do expect Ireland on a two- to three-year basis to come back, we've got a very good business there, so we'll carry on backing it, we're very confident in the longer-term prospects," he said.

Kingfisher's numbers were otherwise upbeat, with the shares closing at 255p, a rise of 17p today.

Caroline Gulliver, analyst at Execution Noble, said: "Kingfisher's 3Q results are overall in line with expectations, with total retail profit up 6% to £240m versus our estimate of £242m. Gross margin gains remain strong, the company will be in a net cash position by the year-end and the results should allay concerns about weakness in the UK."

Source : Alex Hawkes - Guardian.co.uk

02 December 2010
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