Building merchant and DIY retail specialist group Travis Perkins has reported a like-for-like sales dip of seven per cent over its third quarter as wet weather and the Olympics drove customers out of stores, it has been announced today.
However, total sales at the group, which owns DIY retailer Wickes, rose 12 per cent in the quarter ended September 30th 2012, thanks in part to the consolidation of Toolstation which took place from January 3rd this year.
For the nine month period to September 30th, LFL sales declined 6.2 per cent though total sales increased 12.9 per cent, which the group said followed continuing low inflation, which “impacted our opportunities to drive stock investment gains.”
A statement from the group added: ”This, in addition to competitive market conditions in the three Merchanting divisions, has seen our gross margins come under pressure during the third quarter.”
As a result, the group has intensified cost management, which it hopes will also alleviate pressure on gross margins.
Debt levels at the company have continued to fall since last year due to the sale of its St Pancras site amf it is on course to acieve its debt target of £450 million by the year-end.
Geoff Cooper, Travis Perkins’ CEO, commented:”Trading improved in September after the uneven and fragile trading conditions experienced so far this year, and our continuing tight management of costs and efficiency gains from self help projects mean we remain on target to meet market expectations.”
It has also been announced today that the group’s Financial Director Paul Hampden Smith is to stand down from his role and as a director of Travis Perkins, though he is epected to remain in his position until September 2013.
After over 20 years with the group, Hampden Smith has been part of a management team which increased company turnover from £400 million to £5 billion and a search for a successor is already underway.
Commenting on Hampden Smith’s departure, Travis Perkins’ Chairman Robert Walker said:”Paul Hampden Smith has made a very significant contribution to Travis Perkins over many years and he goes with our very best wishes for the future.
“Paul has deservedly earned widespread respect, both inside and outside the Company, for his abilities and achievements.”
Hampden Smith said that he believes the company is well positioned for further growth and success.