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Sales are forecast to reach 2.73bn at B&Q

Investors will have home improvement on their minds next week with results or updates from firms including B&Q owner Kingfisher and Topps Tiles.

Kingfisher will provide further insight into the health of the retail sector when it updates on first quarter trading on Thursday.

With the warmest April on record boosting sales of seasonal items such as barbecues, garden furniture and outdoor toys, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has forecast like-for-like sales growth at B&Q of 1.5% in the three months to the end of April. The bank also expects a 3% rise in group sales to £2.73bn.

But demand for big-ticket items – such as fridges and ovens – is expected to have seen limited growth as UK consumers continue to tighten their purse-strings.

Aurelie Caspar, a research analyst at BoA, said the company had the scope to “outperform the sector”.

The City will be looking for plans for expansion after it pledged to step up growth following a 22.5% rise in pre-tax profits to £670m in the year to January 29.

The company has 492 stores in the UK and Ireland – 330 B&Q and 162 under its Screwfix brand – plus 203 in France trading as Castorama and Brico Depot. A further 161 outlets are located abroad including in China and Russia.

Tile and flooring group Topps Tiles is pinning its trading hopes on a sustained housing market recovery.

In March, the UK’s largest tile and wood flooring specialist reported like-for-like sales increased by 1.8% in its first half, down slightly on the previous year. But Topps saw a slow down in the second quarter after a good first three months.

The interim figures will be keenly watched to see if it has reversed that trend.

The group added total first half sales would be £89.2m, compared to £91.4m a year earlier, though there was an additional week in the comparable half. Sales rose by 1.5% after allowing for an extra week.

Consensus forecasts for the full year are for profits of £17.3m, up from an adjusted £16.3m last year.

Source :

30 May 2011
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