Shares in Kingfisher, owner of B&Q, were down on the FTSE 100 in morning trading after the company said it was cautious about the near future, after delivering a statement for the second quarter ended 10 July.
In the second quarter, total group sales rose by 0.3 per cent, while like for like sales dropped 0.8 per cent. In the half year total sales were up 0.1 per cent and like for like sales declined by 1.3 per cent.
The group's business in Britain and Ireland had a poor period with total sales down 3.6 per cent and like for like sales down 4.4 per cent in the quarter. In the half year total sales dropped 2.7 per cent and like for like sales declined 3.5 per cent.
However failure at home was offset by greater success in France where total sales rose 3.9 per cent and like for like sales increased 2.6 per cent in the quarter. In the half year period total sales were up 3.0 per cent and like for like sales increased 1.3 per cent.
Kingfisher's other international business saw total sales increase 1.6 per cent and like for like sales fall 0.8 per cent in the second quarter. In the half year period total sales rose 0.1 per cent but fell 1.3 per cent on a like for like basis.
Ian Cheshire, Group Chief Executive of Kingfisher, said, "This is a solid performance in an uncertain environment for our customers right across Europe. Consumer spending remains under pressure, notably in the UK, and so we continued to focus on carefully targeting our promotions to drive profitable sales, improving our cash margins and vigorously controlling our costs. As a result our expectations for first half cash and profit outturn remain on track.
"While we remain cautious about the outlook for consumer spending, we are confident that the strengths of the Group and our well established self-help initiatives leave us well-placed to continue our good progress over the balance of the year."
Richard Hunter, Head of UK Equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, commented, "There is insufficient strength in the update for the shares to buck the weaker opening trend of the wider market.
In something of a retrograde step, the slightly brighter picture is due to cost cutting and efficiency measures as opposed to top line growth. This was the scenario which propelled first quarter results across the board - with the hope being that the second quarter would bring a return to actual sales improvement. In particular, the UK business remains under pressure, with management guidance understandably cautious for the foreseeable future. The bright spot in the update arrived from France, where the Castorama and Brico Depot chains produced a 2.6% increase in sales.
The stock has struggled to keep up with the wider FTSE100 over the last year, but has nonetheless posted a 10% gain versus an index rise of 16% in the same period. On balance, the market is positively disposed towards the shares due to its geographical diversification, with some sporadic but rapid growth patterns being seen in the likes of China and Poland. The general view is that the shares remain a buy."
By 09:16 shares in Kingfisher were down 2.01 per cent to 219.00 pence per share on the FTSE 100.