The B&Q and Screwfix owner admitted there was “no quick fi x” for problems with its French operation Castorama and expects little respite for belt-tightening British shoppers.
Despite the woes of traditional rivals – Homebase needed creditors to back a rescue deal that included the closure of dozens of stores and sales at Wickes have been under pressure – Kingfisher has still struggled.
It is in the middle of a five-year programme to remove product duplication and boost annual profits by £500million by 2021.
But it announced that Arja Taaveniky, who joined three years ago from Ikea to transform its buying functions and unify its ranges, is to leave with that job only half done.
She will be replaced by Henri Solere, who has overseen double-digit sales increases and higher margins in its bathroom product ranges. Kingfisher chief Veronique Laury said: “Arja has played an invaluable role in our transformation.
“We are on track against our targets for unified products and the new ranges are achieving improved sales and margins. This is not a signal it doesn’t work.”
Kingfisher’s pre-tax profits fell by 30.1 per cent to £281million on 1.2 per cent higher sales of just over £6billion.
UK sales improved by 1.3 per cent to £2.63billion.
Profit grew by 1.2 per cent to £218million.
A 2.3 per cent drop in B&Q’s sales to £1.83billion was offset by 10.4 per cent growth at Screwfix to £802million.
Profit at its French business fell by 29.8 per cent to £122million.
Laury said: “The extent and pace of change in retail is profound. We saw these changes and acted early. The backdrop for the UK consumer isn’t strong. They are seeing inflation and they have to earn more to buy food.
“We are going through a revolution. The customer is buying differently and traditional retailers are suffering.”
Shares fell 16½p to 247p