Kingfisher is set to reveal another jump in sales next week as it continues to ride the DIY wave that swept the UK during the pandemic.
The B&Q and Screwfix owner enjoyed a bumper period of trading as demand soared through lockdowns and analysts say that this shows little sign of waning.
Sales were up 22% on the previous year when the firm updated the city on its half-year results in September and analysts are predicting another jump of 11.8% for the three months to October compared to 2019 when it reveals its latest trading update on Friday November 19.
The group is expected to deliver pre-tax profits of £952 million for the full year.
Analysts at Jefferies said they are expecting the result to underline “resilient engagement with home improvement in the UK and France”.
James Grzinic, equity analyst at Jefferies, said: “Traffic into DIY and trade-related websites remains elevated vs pre-Covid levels.
“We find it encouraging that this is still the case at a time of much recovered workplace mobility and, in the UK, of all stamp duty holidays having finished at the end of September.”
The firm’s French operation reversed its fortunes when the group last updated the city and investors and analysts will be keen to see whether this has continued.
After the group’s half-year results in September, Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “France has turned from a weak to a bright spot, with retail profit more than doubling compared to the same period last year, with the effort to restore the discount DNA to the Brico Depot chain clearly reaping rewards.”
However, Jefferies warned that investors may shrug their shoulders at another jump in group sales as they remain fixated on a predicted fall in demand in the home improvement sector next year.
Mr Grzinic said: “The suspicion is that short-term upgrades will continue to be met with little enthusiasm by investors.
“The market’s focus has been trying to measure the size of demand reversion in 2022, especially in the UK.”
The retail group could also see a bumpy run into Christmas as more than 400 staff at logistics firm Wincanton, who work at B&Q’s Worksop distribution centre, will begin strike action later this month.
Sharon Graham, the general secretary of the union Unite, warned: “Wincanton’s union-busting and below inflation pay offer means that you won’t be able to do it if you B&Q it because the Worksop distribution centre will be at a standstill.”