a B&Q store in Ballymena, County Antrim - Paul Faith/PA
a B&Q store in Ballymena, County Antrim – Paul Faith/PA

A DIY boom has boosted the owner of B&Q as customers use lockdown to make home improvements. 

Kingfisher, the FTSE 100 company, reported a 21.8pc jump in like-for-like sales since the beginning of May with online sales running at more than three times the level recorded in the same period last year. 

The figures, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures in the last year, showed that sales accelerated in June even after a boom in May. Sales have continued to surge in July though growth has been slightly slower. 

Momentum built as the company continued a phased reopening of stores in France and the UK, which began in mid-April. 

Kingfisher sells DIY and home improvement products to consumers and tradesmen from more than 1,350 stores in nine European countries.

Markets Hub - Kingfisher PLC
Markets Hub – Kingfisher PLC

It employs 77,000 people through its various brands, which include B&Q, Screwfix and Castorama

The company said its response to the pandemic coupled with strong demand for its products had put it on a sound footing for the future. 

Strong sales and cost reductions meant profits in the six months to the end of July should be ahead of last year, the company said. 

It declined to give any guidance on how much profit it expects to make in its current financial year, which runs until the end of January. 

It said: “While we are entering the second half with a favourable trading backdrop, second half visibility remains low given uncertainty around Covid-19 and the wider economic outlook.”

Shares jumped 10.1pc to 247.9p in early trading, valuing the firm at £5.2bn.