B&Q owner Kingfisher today said the wettest summer in 100 years cost the group £30 million in profit as demand for gardening and outdoor maintenance plunged.

The company, which also owns tools supplier Screwfix as well as Castorama and Brico Depot in France, said record rainfall in the UK and northern Europe helped prompt a 7 per cent drop in seasonal product sales in the 26 weeks to July 28.

B&Q sales in the UK and Ireland suffered a 6 per cent like-for-like decline to £2 billion as average footfall plunged 20 per cent in the severely weather-affected weeks.

The chain saw retail profit slide 24 per cent to £125 million.

The Chandlers Ford based DIY giant said sales of building products were hit by the adverse weather, while sales of indoor decorative products were up as customers switched some of their home improvement activities indoors.

The wet weather also saw a 33 per cent rise in slug pellet sales and water butts were up 60 per cent.

Kingfisher group retail profit in the UK and Ireland declined by 20 per cent to £145 million, reflecting weak seasonal sales and additional markdowns to clear seasonal stocks.

The wider group reported a 17 per cent slide in bottom line pre-tax profits to £364 million in the period as sales dipped 3 per cent to £5.5 billion.

Chief executive Ian Cheshire said: ''This has been a tough first half with unprecedented wet weather throughout the key spring and summer seasons in northern Europe.

''This affected footfall and demand for outdoor maintenance, gardening and leisure products, which normally account for a significant proportion of our first half sales.''

MeteoGroup has said 14.25 inch (362mm) of rain fell in June, July and August, making it the wettest summer since 1912.