Kingfisher saw like-for-like sales increase 3.6% in the first three months of its financial year. Getty

B&Q owner Kingfisher said on Tuesday (24 May) that trading in the first three months of the year was in line with expectations, as sales grew across most of its businesses. The 6.2% gain in like-for-like sales in Britain and Ireland came despite a 4.3% drop in reported sales at B&Q, which the group attributed to a number of store closures.

In the quarter to 30 April, the FTSE 100-listed company posted a 5.1% year-on-year gain in sales – or 2.3% when stripping out currency fluctuations – to £2.7bn (€3.5bn, $3.9bn), while like-for-like sales rose 3.6% from the corresponding period in 2015.

The group said the increase sales was driven by a strong performance in Poland and the UK, where like-for-like sales increased 10.8% and 6.2% respectively, offsetting a 4.5% decline in Russia and a 3.2% drop in Spain.

The drop in sales at their DYI chain B&Q was more than offset by a strong performance from the Screwfix business, which registered a 23.5% increase in sales on the back of the introduction of new and extended ranges of products and the opening of 10 new outlets.

Kingfisher added that the closure of 15% of surplus space at B&Q remained on track and it plans to close a further 10 stores, bringing the tally to 50 of the 65 it plans to shut.

"We have made a solid start to the year, trading in line with expectations," said group chief executive Véronique Laury.

"I am pleased with the early progress we are making on our operational milestones for this year, the first year of our ambitious five year plan. We continue to feel confident in our ability to deliver our plan, based on putting customer needs first, supported by the expertise and enthusiasm of our colleagues."

Meanwhile, the London-listed group added it has to date returned £78m – equivalent to 23m shares – via share buyback of the previously announced £600m capital return.