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The week ahead: Kingfisher to update on half-year trading

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B&Q owner Kingfisher is poised to say this week that its turnaround plan is bearing fruit.

It is expected to post interim profits 3 per cent higher at £399 million. That compares with a drop of more than a fifth last year.

The firm said in January that it had begun a strategy to boost annual profits by £500 million by 2021 by selling the same products in all the countries in which it operates, reducing costs and growing online sales more rapidly. Kingfisher has stores in France, Spain, Poland and Russia.

Chief executive Véronique Laury, who was promoted last year, is expected to say the strategy is going according to plan following a rise in sales in the UK and Poland.

One analyst said: ‘The big story for Kingfisher is the programme to drive up profits. We are not expecting much gain to start with, but then we expect that to feed through more rapidly in the tail-end of the programme.’

The company is spending about £70 million this year and £100 million next year to harmonise products. It also plans to return £600 million to shareholders over the next three years through share buybacks. It has so far returned £150 million.

The weak pound is expected to hit B&Q, which imports most of its products, but the group is also expected to benefit more than most London-listed retailers because of its large continental business.

Source : Neil Craven – Financial Mail on Sunday

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18 September 2016

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