B&Q store
A quarter of B&Q branches are expected to be closedReuters

B&Q owner Kingfisher announced that it has already made agreements to close 60 of its 360 B&Q stores across the UK and Ireland following its first quarter results on Thursday (28 May).

Shareholders responded positively to the better than expected 1.4% rise in overall profit over the three months ended 1 May and the store closure developments. The company's share price rose by 28.84% (9.50am).

Véronique Laury, Kingfisher's chief executive, said the company was taking early steps towards its "ONE" Kingfisher plan to turn it into a "single, unified company where customer needs come first".

"We are also pleased to report that we already have agreements to dispose of a quarter of the B&Q stores earmarked for closure," she added in the press release.

Kingfisher earlier announced that the Southampton, Dundee, Birmingham and Manchester branches would be among the closing stores, as well as two branches in Barnsley.

B&Q's sale declined 1.5% on a constant currency basis but Kingfisher's UK and Ireland division was saved by a good Screwfix performance, which saw a 26.8% sale rise to £244m (€342m, $372).

Parent company Kingfisher reported an overall 2.7% rise in revenue on a constant currency basis to £2.6bn (€3.6bn, $3.9bn) and a 0.8% growth in like-for-like sales.

Investment banking and securities company Investec advised shareholders to sell shares.

Investec stated: "Although some progress has been made on 'ONE' Kingfisher, the long-term benefits will take multiple years to realise in our view. We acknowledge that there is some degree of cash flow and yield support, but see better value elsewhere in the sector."

However, Nicla Di Palm, equity analyst at wealth management provider Brewin Dolphin, said that the "ONE" Kingfisher plans could lead to increased margins and said that Kingfisher's balance sheet looks "solid".