B&Q owner Kingfisher reported a surge in sales as fears over rising gas and electricity costs boosted demand for energy-efficient products including insulated rolls and smart thermostats .
The retail group, which also owns hardware supplier Screwfix, said customers who invested in a range of energy-efficient DIY products helped boost group sales by 0.6% to 3.3 billion pounds sterling in the three months to October. Excluding the impact of the weaker pound, sales rose 1.7%.
“While the market environment remains challenging, DIY sales continue to be supported by emerging industry trends such as the rise of home working and a sharp increase in customer investment in energy saving and leasing. efficiency,” said Kingfisher chief executive Thierry Garnier.
This included sales of attic insulation rolls at B&Q, which increased 108% over the previous year, while demand for smart thermostats and Screwfix kits increased 29%. Kingfisher added that sales of its thermostatic radiator valves – which are self-regulating and designed to maintain a constant temperature in a room – had increased by almost 34%, and sales of central heating controls had increased by almost 21%. %.
Kingfisher’s trade update comes a week after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said in the autumn statement that the typical annual household energy bill would rise to £3,000 from April. The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee (EPG) has so far limited typical household bills to £2,500.
Capitalizing on existing demand, Kingfisher said it had launched an energy saving service in the UK and France to help customers identify products and services that would increase the energy efficiency of their homes ahead of winter. Garnier said there has been “very positive uptake” so far, with B&Q alone taking nearly 1,000 appointments in the first three days of launch.
Kingfisher said it was also trying to stay competitive on price as households were squeezed by the cost of living crisis. The retailer said it was trying to ensure home improvement products were both “affordable and accessible”, including offering own brand items which now account for 45% of its sales.
“While we remain vigilant in the face of macroeconomic uncertainty, we remain confident both in the resilience of our industry and in our continued growth ahead of our markets,” added the CEO.
However, the company cut its profit forecast due to wage inflation, “slightly higher” energy costs and investment in its Screwfix France opening plan.
The company said it was “managing inflationary pressures effectively”, but now expected a profit of between £730m and £760m. He previously told investors profits could reach £770m.