Wickes Owner Reports Strong First Half Growth

Travis Perkins has posted robust first half sales and profit growth, helped by strong performance at Wickes, Toolstation and Tile Giant.

In the six months to 30 June, the consumer retail division saw total sales grow 10.5% to £766m with like-for-like sales up 6.5%. Operating profit rose 7.3% to £44m.

The group does not break down performance by individual chain but said that both Wickes and Toolstation recorded market leading like-for-like sales growth, with both gaining significant share.

In Wickes, the roll out of a new store format continued with 14 stores refitted, one new store opened and one store relocated. There are now 32 new format stores in the network of 236 shops, with the group saying that all were meeting or exceeding expectations. The programme to roll out further new formats will continue in the second half of the year.

Meanwhile, Toolstation opened 16 new stores in the UK, and an additional five new stores in the Netherlands. The group said that strong returns generated from these investments meant that the store network expansion programme will continue.

For the Travis Perkins Group as a whole, which also includes general merchanting, plumbing and heating, and a contracts divisions, revenue increased by 5.8% to £3.11bn with like-for-like sales up 3.1%. Pre-tax profit rose 10.7% to £176m.

John Carter, Chief Executive Officer, said: “The solid performance in the first half of 2016 reflects our leading market positions, the hard work of our teams and the investments we have been making to improve all aspects of our business. The investments to extend our range, build out our distribution infrastructure, expand our network and accelerate our online growth have helped us continue to win market share and to position us well for the future. We plan to continue to invest in our businesses where we can generate strong returns and create value for our shareholders over the long-term.

He added: “It is clear that the result of the EU referendum has created significant uncertainty in the outlook for our end markets and we did experience weaker demand in the run up to and immediately following the referendum. Our two-year like-for-like sales in July have been below the levels we experienced in the second quarter, however we have seen a gradual improvement through the course of the month. In our view it is too early to precisely predict end market demand and we will continue to monitor the lead indicators we track and will react accordingly.”