By Marcus Leach

Warm weather in the UK and France have seen B&Q owner Kingfisher announcing a rise in sales for the opening four months of the year.

A 'strong start' to the year saw total sales, for the end of April, rise by 3.3% to £2.73 billion in comparison to the same period the previous year.

Kingfisher said higher sales and improved margins also helped to increase profits. However, they were quick to stress that the year as a whole will be a lot tougher than the opening four months might suggest.

Sales in the UK and the Irish Republic rose by 1.8% to £1.19 billion, while those in France were up 4.1% to £1.1 billion.

"I am pleased that we have made a strong start to the year, capitalising on more favourable weather conditions right across Europe and extended public holidays in the UK," said group chief executive Ian Cheshire.