by John Woolfitt, Atlantic Capital Markets
Fundamentals & Statement Summary
Kingfisher (KGF), the owner of B&Q in the UK and Castorama and Brico-Depot in France, today announced a resilient first-half sales performance after the impact of the COVID lockdown during Q1 was offset by strong sales recovery in Q2. The group said that the crisis had ‘reinforced’ its approach, ‘pushing’ the retailer to be ‘bolder.’ Sales fell 1.3% to £5.9bn, while adjusted pre-tax profit grew by 23.1% to £415m as a huge 164% increase in online sales and a strong recovery in reopened stores offset the temporary closure of all outlets in the UK and France early in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The results comfortably exceeded adjusted profit forecasts of £361m, and as a result Kingfisher said it would repay the £23m it received in furlough payments from the UK government. Free cash flow of £1.04bn, up £838m, reflected higher operating profit, working capital inflow of £656m and lower capex.
Kingfisher said it had benefited from a surge in spending on homes and gardens as people adapted their houses for working from home, using money they would have spent on holidays or entertainment.
Kingfisher CEO Thierry Garnier said the crisis “has prompted more people to rediscover their homes and find pleasure in making them better. It is creating new home improvement needs, as people seek new ways to use space or adjust to working from home. It’s also clear that customers are becoming more comfortable with ordering online. And delivering value to consumers is imperative against a challenging economic backdrop.”
Looking forward, Kingfisher said the momentum had continued into Q3, with UK sales up 18.9%. since the end of July and those in France climbing 16.7%. The group also intends to experiment with new store formats including a pilot with Asda to introduce B&Q mini-stores in supermarkets.
Garnier added that while the near term outlook was uncertain, “the longer term opportunity for Kingfisher is significant. There is a lot more to do, but the new team and new plan is now established in the business and we are committed to returning Kingfisher to growth.”
Chart and Technicals
Source: FactSet and Hargreaves Lansdown
In the run up to the March COVID fall, Kingfisher shares traded steadily, before plunging to a 10 year low of 124p on March 18th. By the end of April however, the shares had not only recovered the 50-day MA, they blew through it, and recovered the benchmark 200-day moving average at 190p less than 1 month later. Since that time KGF has traded above both averages, leading to a bullish golden cross formation on July 10th as the 50-day MA passed through the 200-day MA. The stock drifted back to the 50-day MA in the run up to the results, and having successfully tested that level, opened higher on September 22nd. While above this level, our expectations are that the stock will retest July 2018 highs of 317p by early November 2020.
Summary and Atlantic View
Although the strong trading performance had by and large been flagged up by Kingfisher to the markets, the pace of online growth and resulting profit number caught out even the most bullish pundits. As CEO Thierry Garnier says, people have used the cash they would have spent on holidays and entertainment on home improvements. This factor, also evident in Travis Perkins results earlier this month, led to strong free cashflow and the return of furlough payments to HM Govt. Now, with lockdown and movement restrictions set to return at home and in France, Atlantic Capital Markets believes Kingfisher websites and outlets will be faced with a huge opportunity to cash in on another surge in home improvement spending during the latter part of the year. Backed by this sort of momentum, we expect the shares to push higher and retest the technical target of 317p in the next 4-6 weeks. Keep Buying.
To take advantage of this trading idea, speak to a member of our dealing team on 01872 229000 or visit the Atlantic Capital Markets website here