By Max Clarke

Kingfisher Plc (LSE: KGF) has announced it is to create 1,200 jobs as part of a £130 million expansion plan, on the back of soaring profits.

Europe’s leading home improvement retailer and parent company of B&Q and Screwfix, has defied the UK-wide pattern of declining high street activity and stagnant retail sales.

The news, coming just 24 hours after the Office for National Statistics confirmed the highest monthly unemployment rise in two years, will go some way to reassure the public in the wake of mounting negative economic indicators.

"We are backing Britain, investing to grow our B&Q and Screwfix businesses in the UK, creating jobs and supporting local communities,” said Ian Cheshire, Kingfisher's Group Chief Executive. “We have the balance sheet strength and financial flexibility to do this. Although the economic outlook is uncertain, this investment demonstrates our confidence in the UK's longer-term growth prospects."

Kingfisher is also expanding internationally. Earlier this week it announced plans to invest £115 million opening nine new Castorama stores in Russia over the next two years.