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Kingfisher provides trading update and overview of COVID-19 impact

Kingfisher plc is today providing its Q1 20/21 sales, and an update on how it is managing the impact of COVID-19 on its business.

Key points

• Q1 20/21 sales of £2.2 billion, down 24.0% in constant currency; LFL(1) down 24.8%.

− Trading up to 14 March continued the positive trends seen in Q4 19/20, reflecting operational improvements in France and the implementation of a new trading approach across the Group, including reintroducing trading events.

− Balance of quarter saw significant impact from COVID-related disruption.

• Committed to colleague and customer safety, our obligations as a responsible employer, and support for communities and governments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Quickly adapted operating model driving:

− Strong e-commerce growth (up to fourfold growth since mid-March),

− Phased reopening of stores in the UK and France in the second half of April, and

− Improving relative sales trend (Group LFL sales moved from (74.0)% in first week of April to +2.7% in first week of May).

• Effective actions taken to reduce costs and preserve cash.

• Sufficient liquidity headroom against assumption of prolonged period of reduced sales, based on current cash balance(2) of c.£700 million.

• Additional liquidity arrangements provide further security, over and above existing cash balance:
− Eligibility confirmed for Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility.
− €600 million (c.£525 million) term facility, guaranteed by the French State, arranged with three French banks.
− Additional Revolving Credit Facility for £250 million agreed.

• As at 8 May 2020, the Company had access to over £2 billion in total liquidity

• Continuing to follow the FCA’s recommendations regarding publication of FY 19/20 results.

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Current status

Over 95% of Kingfisher’s stores are currently either open and/or offering a contactless click & collect service.

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More details on the current status of UK and Ireland businesses follow.  For France and ‘Other International’ stores, click here.

United Kingdom:

− On 23 March the UK government ordered the closure of all shops selling ‘non-essential’ goods.
− Hardware shops have been categorised as ‘essential’, and therefore B&Q and Screwfix are eligible to remain open.
− Despite this, from 23 March, we took the decision to close all B&Q and Screwfix stores to customers for browsing and in-store purchasing while we established the safe store operating protocols described above.
− To ensure the continued supply of essential goods, from 24 March we progressively introduced a contactless click & collect service for our B&Q and Screwfix customers, alongside a home delivery service.
− On 17 April we trialled the reopening of 14 B&Q stores, listening to feedback from our store colleagues and adapting our approach as a result. Following the success of this trial we progressively reopened further B&Q stores (288, to date).
− For all 683 Screwfix stores, we continue successfully to offer a contactless click & collect service under similarly strict social distancing and safety measures.

• Republic of Ireland:

− Since 28 March, all stores in Ireland (eight B&Q and five Screwfix) have been closed following the Irish government’s lockdown restrictions, which apply until 18 May.
− Hardware shops were categorised as ‘online only’, and therefore not eligible to remain open.
− The government announced plans on 1 May to ease lockdown restrictions. We are actively monitoring our position with regards to potential store reopenings.
− In the meantime, Screwfix is offering a home delivery service from its stores.

Thierry Garnier, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“Since the COVID-19 crisis started, our priorities have been clear – to provide support to the communities we serve, to fulfil our obligations to colleagues as a responsible employer, to our customers as a retailer of essential goods, and to protect our business for the long term.

“Having initially closed our stores in France and the UK, we have rapidly adapted how we operate to meet the essential needs of our customers safely during lockdown. We started by transforming our operations to meet a material increase in online transactions through our click & collect and home delivery services. We reconfigured our retail space and processes, allowing a phased and safe reopening of stores whilst preserving the social distancing and other health & safety protocols that are likely to be with us for some time. In addition, we have donated over £1 million of PPE to frontline health workers, with more on the way.

“We have also taken significant actions throughout the business to reduce costs and protect cash, in part supported by governments. Our current cash balance provides us with sufficient financial headroom based on assumptions of a prolonged period of reduced sales. Over and above this we have put in place some further liquidity arrangements, including support from the UK and French governments, which give us additional security in case of even more severe scenarios. Overall, the operational and financial actions we have taken give us a sound footing in the current crisis and beyond.

“It has been inspiring and humbling for all of us to see how Kingfisher’s teams have risen to meet these significant challenges. We have adapted to government guidelines, listened to colleague and customer feedback, and made major changes to our operating model in a matter of days. These challenging times have underscored both the agility of our teams and the importance to customers of our offering, which gives me a lot of confidence for the future.”

View the full publication here.

Source : Insight DIY & Kingfisher PLC

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