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Kingfisher To Pay Back 23m In UK Furlough Payments

B&Q Goods In shutterstock_137933978 725 x 500.jpg

In its half-year results update, published yesterday, Kingfisher announced its intention to repay the £23m in furlough payments it received from the UK government during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the six month period, B&Q's total sales increased by 3.7% to £1,839 million while LFL sales increased by 4.1%. E-commerce sales grew strongly in H1, increasing by 135% and representing 11% of total sales during the period (H1 19/20: 5% of total sales).

Screwfix total sales increased by 3.7% although LFL sales declined by 1.1% to £914 million, impacted by COVID-related temporary store closures and disruption to the trade market. E-commerce sales grew by 160%, representing 80% of total sales during the period, compared with 32% of total sales in the same period a year earlier. 

Overall, Kingfisher UK & Ireland's sales increased 3.7% (LFL +2.4%) to £2,753 million, reflecting a strong recovery in demand in Q2 (LFL +19.6%) following COVID-related temporary store closures and disruption in Q1 (LFL -16.0%).

Kingfisher statement:

Kingfisher welcomed the announcement of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) in the UK, ‘activité partielle’ relief measures in France, and similar schemes in Spain and Romania.

From mid-March, we gradually announced furlough programmes to colleagues in the UK, France, Spain and Romania. This led to c.50% of our total Group colleagues being furloughed in April, although this figure reduced significantly to c.10% by the end of May as we reopened stores within the UK and France.

With the exception of those who are vulnerable and/or at a higher risk of infection, all remaining colleagues in France and Romania returned from furlough on 1 June, with remaining colleagues in the UK and Spain returning on 1 July. From this date we decided to no longer claim under the furlough programmes in the UK and France. A total of c.£55 million was claimed under furlough schemes in our markets in H1.

Along with not claiming the UK Job Retention Bonus (as announced by the UK government in late July 2020), we are also intending to repay the UK furlough claim (c.£23m) in second half of the year, unless any material changes in the trading environment occur.

Source : Insight DIY Team and Kingfisher PLC

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23 September 2020

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