Kingfisher KGF has no problem finding excuses for its second quarter performance and even includes continued disruptions across the businesses without bothering to enlighten us as to what those may be and whether they are due to management decisions or external forces which management has been unable to cope with. Seasonal swings in both first and second quarters get their share of the blame but there is no let up in the outlook for the second half of the year about which the company remains cautious. However all may be well in the end because the company is on track to deliver its strategic milestones for year 2 of its transformation, which reading between the lines may be the real cause of the poor performance.
B&Q’s seasonal performance in the UK was down 11%, whilst weaker sales in France added to the gloom. Like for like sales during the quarter to 31st July were down 1.9% at constant currency rates. UK & Ireland saw a fall of 1% but B&Q itself was down 4.7%. In France the fall was 3.8% but Russia led the way with drop of 10.1%. Poland on the other hand showed what could be done with a rise of 4% but perhaps that is due to all these Polish plumbers and joiners who had set up in the UK and then decided to return home to Poland for a better life.
Be that as it may this is yet another major UK company which found the need to transform itself and then discovered that the cure was as bad as the illness. Next year should be the year which will tell us whether it has all been worthwhile and whether, in the end, the cure worked.
Rank Group plc enjoyed strong growth in digital which rose by 63% during the year to the end of June but the first half proved to be challenging for the company and despite strong growth in the second half, group like for like revenue grew by only 1%, and actually fell by 1% in the UK. Adjusted earnings per share and profit before tax rose by 4% and 2% respectively. Shareholders are compensated with a rise of 12% in the dividend.
Marshalls MSLH Results for the half year to the 30th June saw both profit before tax and basic earnings per share, rise by 16%, with EBITDA up by 13%. The interim dividend is to be increased by 17%. The company believes that its innovative product range and strong market position will continue to support further growth.