THE owner of Hampshire-based DIY giant B&Q has started the second half of the year “with a bang”, analysts have said.

Kingfisher reported only a small hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, with sales down 1.3 per cent in the first six months of the year but pre-tax profit up 62 per cent to £398million.

Most of its revenue hit came in the first quarter of the year, and the business has recovered well since then, reaching double-digit growth in the third quarter.

James Grzinic, an analyst at Jefferies, said: “Trading into the second half has started with a bang, with Kingfisher noting that the ‘growth across all banners and categories’ has led to third quarter to date group like-for-like up 16.6 per cent.

“Kingfisher’s first-half results present an upbeat picture in the face of a Covid impacted world, with strong second quarter sales gain and government support more than outweighing first quarter closures and Covid costs.”

Thierry Garnier, chief executive of Kingfisher – parent company of Chandlers Ford-based B&Q – said people had rediscovered their homes during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“It is creating new home improvement needs, as people seek new ways to use space or adjust to working from home,” he said.

Online sales rose 19 per cent and make up 19 per cent of all Kingfisher’s sales, up from seven per cent a year ago.