A customer shops at a B&Q store in south London
Kingfisher reported a strong quarter, boosted by B&Q salesReuters

The first quarter of the year has been strong for B&Q owner Kingfisher as sales rose by over 6% following favourable weather patterns which equated to a 20% rise in retail profits.

The increase in sales in this quarter has not saved the company from tumbling shares as they have dropped in value by 6% since the start of trading today to reach 392.10p. Nonetheless, this is countered by a rise in share price of over 25% since the same quarter last year.

The mild winter that preceded and carried on into the first quarter of the year has stood gardeners and tradespeople in good stead, which is evident as its total group sales jumped by 6.1% to reach £2.8bn (€3.4bn, $4.7bn).

The UK and Ireland lead the way in strong sales as they rose by 12.4% over the course of the quarter ending 3 May.

Sales in other international markets were also strong but returns in the French market will be a slight concern for the company which owns over 1,100 stores in nine countries, as they decreased slightly by 0.2%.

Retail profits jumped by 20.3% for the group to reach £142m, which again was largely led by the market in the UK and Ireland as profits were up by £68m – a total of 35.2%.

Sir Ian Cheshire, group chief executive, said: "We have made a strong start to the year, capitalising on more favourable weather conditions right across Europe to achieve sales and profit growth in France, the UK & Poland, our three largest markets.

"Whilst this is encouraging, the first quarter is one of our smallest and the growth achieved largely reflects comparisons with the very difficult start to last year."