After weeks of rain and widespread flooding, the UK’s miserable summer claimed more victims on Thursday as companies blamed it for their lacklustre performances.
Kingfisher, Britvic and Mitchells & Butlers, the pub and restaurant chain, all pointed the finger at heavy rain in their updates.
Ian Cheshire, chief executive at Kingfisher, blamed “unprecedented wet weather” for poor second-quarter sales, which dipped 0.4 per cent at stores open more than a year.
Although like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland actually increased 1.1 per cent, the group said promotions and a weather-related stock clearance took a chunk out of its margins.
Mr Cheshire said: “With the rain reaching almost biblical proportions, we had to work hard to tempt customers out. We increased marketing and promotions to help encourage customers to repair, decorate and upgrade inside their homes while it rained outside.”
Its B&Q chain shrugged off a 38 per cent decline in hosepipe sales to record a 1.6 per cent rise in overall like-for-like sales – aided by a 25 per cent jump in the sales of guttering.
But like-for-like sales at Brico Dépôt, the company’s French DIY venture, fell 4.8 per cent. Total sales across the group were down 0.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis for the 10 weeks to July 7, due mainly to the weak performance in France. Shares in Kingfisher closed down 1.3 per cent to 271.6p.
Mitchells and Butlers also blamed wet weather – and Euro 2012 – for weak growth for the 14 weeks to July. Strong food sales helped total sales edge up 0.4 per cent, but drink revenues dipped 1.4 per cent.
Bob Ivell, executive chairman, said: “Despite the continuing poor weather and challenging economic conditions, we are continuing to deliver a resilient operating performance.”
Shares in the group, which had blamed a wet April for a dip in interim pre-tax profits in May, continued their recovery, rising 3.2 per cent to 261p.
Britvic group revenues fell 7.6 per cent to £300.1m, which it blamed on a combination of a product recall and poor weather. Paul Moody, chief executive, said: “The weak consumer environment and very disappointing weather at a key time for soft drink sales have had a marked impact on our performance.”
Britvic said that last week’s recall of Fruit Shoot children’s drinks wiped about 2 per cent off third-quarter revenue growth.
Shares in Britvic rose 3.5 per cent to 295p after the update on Thursday.
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