Wickes sales slump in wet weather


Sales since the start of the year at DIY specialist Wickes have been dampened by recent cold and wet weather, a trading update published today reveals.

Parent company Travis Perkins has seen its total revenues boosted by the full incorporation of Toolstation into its operations at the start of the year, with total sales up 14.1 per cent annually during the 17 weeks to April 30th 2012.

On a like-for-like (LFL) basis however trading at Wickes stores since January 1st has dipped 5.2 per cent and during the last nine weeks of the period the underlying sales decline increased to 5.6 per cent, as the heavy rain in April and May kept shoppers away from its outlets.

Away from its consumer division, Travis Perkins saw LFL growth in its general merchanting, specialist merchanting, and plumbing & heating businesses over the first four months of the year, group revenues rose 4.4 per cent, and it gained market share in each of the four sectors it operates.

Geoff Cooper, CEO of Travis Perkins, said: “We are pleased with the good progress in the first quarter, in particular the balance between continued share gains and our achievements on gross margins.”

Gross group margin is expected to be in line with the same period last year when half year results are revealed, and the company says that its inflation rate for the start to the financial year stands at 2.5 per cent.

Underlying net debt at the group fell £50 million in the four months to May to total £533 million and is on course to be reduced further to £450 million by the end of 2012.

The integration of Toolstation and the BSS business continues and the group says that this process is still on course to deliver £30 million in gains before the end of the year.