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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 10:06 GMT
Kingfisher upbeat after overhaul
B&Q store exterior
The DIY business is booming, says Kingfisher
DIY retailer Kingfisher has seen annual ongoing profits rise 15% in the wake of a three-year shake up.

The B&Q owner said pre-tax profit from continuing operations rose to 591m, with UK sales jumping 10% to 3.9bn.

The group added it planned to make the most of its strong position and expand in the UK, opening another 20 stores.

In the year to 31 January, Kingfisher demerged its retail arm Kesa, which includes the Comet chain, and took over French DIY chain Castorama.

The changes caused sales and pre-tax profits to fall - down 18% and 13% to 8.8bn and 427m respectively.

But, profits in its UK division jumped 13% to 372m and its market share increased to 14.4%.

Shake-up hailed

Chief executive Gerry Murphy said the overhaul had left the firm "stronger than ever".

"The combination of leading brands, international diversity and Europe's largest buying scale means we are well positioned for continuing growth."

Kingfisher - the world's third largest home improvement retailer - has a total of 560 stores across the globe, with strong market positions in France, Poland, Italy, China and Taiwan.

The group added its recent focus on revitalising its French operations was bearing fruit with Castorama's profits surging 20% to 126m.

Looking ahead, the firm warned higher taxes, interest rates and pension contributions could impact on its outlook for the year, but added the improvements market had proved resilient in the past.

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