Building merchant business Travis Perkins has reported a 5.9 per cent increase in its group turnover for the year-to-date, in an interim management statement released today.
It’s retailing arm Wickes saw turnover for the 17 week trading period to the end of April grow 3.1 per cent year-on-year, with like-for-like sales (LFL) up 1.9 per cent during this time.
Sales slowed toward the end of the period however with trading down 1.2 per at Wickes stores in the final nine weeks compared to the same period last year.
Geoff Cooper, CEO of Travis Perkins, commented: “After strong early progress against weak weather related comparatives, we are pleased with the overall progress the group has made in the first four months of this year.
“Current trading is in line with management expectations with the benefit of strong sales performance balancing a slightly lower gross margin in merchanting.”
Kitchen & bathroom sales have been particularly affected by the recent downturn in consumer sentiment, showing a decline of 12 per cent year-on-year on a LFL basis during the four months to April whilst core DIY product sales, making up around 80 per cent of overall trading, increased 5.9 per cent.
The continued success of the group’s merchanting business insulates it somewhat from the drop in consumer spending and the retailer actually grew market share during the four month period with 14 new outlets opened.
Cooper continued: “”We continue to take market share against a tough market backdrop, confirming the sustainable strength of our organic growth strategy.
“Our more positive merchanting and BSS performance is more than balancing the effect of a challenging consumer environment for our retail business.”
Underlying net debt fell £50 million in the first four months of the year from £774 million reported at the end of 2010, with the company on course to meet its target debt of £650 million by the end of December.