Kingfisher reports a productive first half with sales up 2.7% and retail profit up 8.7%, in constant currencies and underlying pre-tax profit of £436m, up 13.5%. The group also reports good early progress on ONE Kingfisher Total adjusted sales in constant currencies for the six months to the end of July rose by 2.7% to £5,749m (UK & Ireland +3.1%; France +0.3%; Other International +7.5%). Retail profit in constant currencies was up 8.7% at £464m (UK & Ireland +8.8%; France +1.6%; Other International +34.2%). Underlying pre-tax profit of £436m, up 13.5% was driven by UK and Poland profit growth and £17m favourable FX movements on the translation of non-sterling retail profits. The group returned £317m of cash to shareholders year to date (£157m dividend; £160m buyback). The group had net cash of £898m including significant working capital timing benefits. Chief executive Veronique Laury said: "It has been a productive first half. We have delivered a good 'business as usual' result with both sales and profit growth. "Performance has been driven by Poland and the UK, especially Screwfix, and a stable profit performance in France. "This has been achieved alongside managing the start of our ambitious transformation plan, based on creating a unified company where customer needs come first. "In the UK, the EU referendum has created uncertainty for the economic outlook, even though there has been no clear evidence of an impact on demand so far on our businesses. "In France we remain cautious on the short term outlook. "Looking longer term, we are starting to build solid foundations to enable us to deliver our five year transformation, which is our key growth driver. "We are making good progress on our strategic milestones for this first year and we are on track. "The level of transformation activity will increase significantly, however given the expertise and energy of our colleagues we continue to feel confident about the challenges ahead."
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