March 26 - Rain in the UK costs Britain's Kingfisher £25m and contrinbues to an 11% fall in underlying pre-tax profit. Sonia Legg reports.
TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NONE** 25 million pounds is today's daily digit - the cost of British rain to Europe's largest DIY retailer. Kingfisher runs B&Q in the UK and trades as Brico Depot and Castarama in France. It said poor British weather last summer and a cold start to this year hit demand. Cash-strapped customers are also cutting back on home improvements in the economic downturn. Big ticket items like kitchens and bathrooms were particularly badly hit. Underlying pre-tax profit fell 11 and a half percent to 715 million pounds in the year to February. It was in line with forecasts but down almost 100m on the previous year. Group sales also fell 2.4 percent to 10 and a half billion pounds. Kingfishers key markets - Britain, France and Poland - all saw declines. Shares rose 1 percent after the results - they've fallen 9 percent over the past year.