Integrating the B&Q and Screwfix online retail and supply chain systems is delivering beneficial results for DIY retailing giants Kingfisher. Group sales for the company are up 1.4 per cent it said in its interim results. Kingfisher is dominant in the UK market and strong in France, Poland and developing economies.

The UK based B&Q brand has been able to offer 12,000 products online with guaranteed next day delivery by integrating the online service with the fulfilment supply chain network from Kingfisher trade company Screwfix.

A reserve and collect service allowing customers to reserve on its brand and collect at B&Q stores has also been rolled out in the UK and Ireland. Self-service checkouts have now also been rolled out to 211 stores as Kingfisher continues to invest in retail technology.

Kingfisher announced yesterday that its group retail profits were up by 23.5 per cent, reporting that the UK and Polish markets were the strongest. Sales in the UK and Ireland grew by 1.2 per cent and international sales by 5.2 per cent. Operating costs at Kingfisher are down by one per cent.

In March 2008 Kingfisher announced a new management structure which included the centralisation of its IT operations. The new structure of three divisions in three markets: UK, France and International meant that IT moved under the property and staff management portfolio instead of separate IT operations for each of the different retail businesses.

Kingfisher group chief executive said, "Our more unified management approach across the Group is really starting to deliver, enabling is to strengthen the business for the longer term whilst also managing our margins, costs and cash effectively."

The Kingfisher results follow a week of mixed news from the high street. The Office of National Statistics said August sales in the UK were unchanged from July, some had hoped for a slight rise. The British Retail Consortium said sales decreased by 0.1 per cent.

John Lewis, the department store chain in the south east, reported a fall in profits by 20 per cent and predicted further difficulties ahead. Fashion house French Connection said in its half year results that its losses had doubled due to falling sales and price cuts in the US. French Connection reported a pre-tax loss of £12.8 million for the six months to 31 July, 2009.

Better results came from department store chain Debenhams which did not provide its figures, but reported increased clothing sales and analysts were confident of an increase in profits. Next announced an increase in its pre-tax profits of £185.5m for the first half of 2009.