Surge in DIY sales boosted B&Q before lockdown as homeowners prepared to use time to improve their properties
Demand for DIY and garden equipment surged in the weeks before the coronavirus lockdown, according to B&Q’s owner.
Kingfisher, which also owns Screwfix, saw sales shoot up 38 per cent in the third week of March compared with the same period in 2019.
Online sales also jumped by a quarter as households avoided shops when the threat of the virus became clear.
B&Q owner Kingfisher, which also owns Screwfix, saw sales shoot up 38 per cent in the third week of March compared with the same period in 2019
The jump has been put down to families wanting to improve their properties during a lockdown that could last months.
Many also rushed out to buy spare parts and to get niggling jobs done round the house before it was too late.
Rival Homebase also saw demand rise, with customers reporting a shortage of seeds, and vegetables proving more popular than flowers.
The spike mirrors the changing demands of shoppers, many of whom are confined to their own homes.
Online retailers that sell homeware, home-fitness equipment, books and jigsaw puzzles, and shops that deliver beer, wine and vegetable boxes, are booming.
Shops designated essential, such as supermarkets, pharmacists, pet shops and off-licences, will see a boost as consumers dial down their spending in pubs, bars and restaurants.
Supermarkets are in the process of moving more than 50,000 staff into store, warehouse and driving roles, while Lloyd’s pharmacy hired 1,500 staff this week to meet heightened demand.
But at the same time, fashion retailer Next is preparing for a £1billion hit in sales, while Primark, which does not have an online shop, has said closing its stores will cost it £650million per month.
Both of Kingfisher’s brands have been labelled ‘essential’ because they sell items to maintain homes.
B&Q stores shut briefly this week while it put measures in place to protect staff, while Screwfix customers can use the outlets only for click-and-collect orders.