Kingfisher owns the B&Q brand.

Kingfisher (LON:KGF) announced plans to exit smaller markets such as Russia, Spain and Portugal, amid a slowdown in France for the company.

The retail company, whose brands include B&Q and Screwfix, reported a rise in sales of 1.4% in the latest quarter.

Sales remained strong at its Screwfix locations, posting an increase in sales of 10.6% to £442 million. Meanwhile, sales at B&Q deteriorated, dipping 2.8% to £850 million.

Moreover, sales at its French retail arm Castorama continued to weigh down profits during the quarter.

As a result, the group announced plans to exit smaller markets of Russia, Spain and Portugal to focus efforts upon reviving its French business.

Véronique Laury, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“We continue to make progress on our ONE Kingfisher transformation. We remain on track to achieve our key strategic milestones for the third year in a row, and increased our gross margin in the quarter.

“Transformation on this scale is tough, and we are operating in a difficult retail environment. We face challenges and we are addressing them. Our main challenge is Castorama France and we shared our action plan to fix it at the half year. Our action plan is now implemented for this year. We have accelerated our move to an everyday low price strategy and have launched a new marketing campaign to make it visible to our customers, however there is no quick fix.

“We are committed to our plan and to building a strong business for the long-term. As part of this commitment, we have taken the decision to exit Russia, Spain and Portugal. This will allow us to apply our strategy with more focus and efficiency in our main markets where we have, or can reach, a market leading position and create good homes by making home improvement accessible for everyone.

“Finally, I’m pleased to announce we are also returning a further GBP50m via share buyback which completes our GBP600m capital return commitment in the first three years of the plan.”

Shares in Kingfisher are currently trading -3.13% as of 10:45 AM (GMT).