Wickes owner Travis Perkins says warmer weather boosted sales as the group mulls disposal of the DIY chain
- Travis Perkins group sales up 7.3 per cent in the first three months of the year
- At struggling chain Wickes, sales rose 10.5 per cent, thanks to warmer weather
- The group is mulling a disposal of Wickes as it focuses on its trade customers
Travis Perkins is leading the FTSE 250 risers today after the building and DIY group lifted the lid on an improved performance at Wickes, its struggling DIY chain.
Sales jumped 10.5 per cent at Wickes in the first three months of the year.
The retailer benefited from strong orders of kitchens and bathrooms, as well as a ‘soft prior year comparative’.
Travis Perkins’ retail chain Wickes enjoyed strong sales at the start of 2019, it said today
This time last year, the chain was hammered by the so-called ‘Beast from the East’. The weather at the start of 2019, however, was much more DIY friendly.
Shares jumped 3 per cent in early trading on Wednesday to £14.40, making Travis Perkins the biggest riser in the FTSE 250.
The group, which also owns fast-growing Tool Station, is in the process of cutting costs and simplifying.
It said in December that it would dispose of its plumbing and heating division, where sales fell 4 per cent during the period amid the milder weather.
Travis Perkins also placed Wickes under review last year and is considering selling the retail chain as it turns its focus to its core trade customers.
Today, outgoing boss John Carter said the figures were ‘encouraging’ – particularly given the ‘ongoing political uncertainty’ which has weighed heavily on most home and DIY firms in the last couple of years.
‘The actions set out at our capital markets day in December 2018 to deliver best-in-class service to trade customers and to simplify the group are well under way,’ he added.
Carter is set to step down after a 40-year stint at the firm, including 18 years as a director and five as chief executive.
He will be succeeded by Atkins CEO Nick Roberts in July.
‘DIY will remain tough in 2019 but Wickes is in better relative shape than its competitors, as its proactive approach to market conditions means it is not attempting to turn itself around in tough conditions,’ said Matthew Walton, an analyst at GlobalData.
‘While Kingfisher remains only halfway through implementing its Kingfisher One strategy and Homebase still requiring a lot of work despite its more positive end to 2018, Wickes can continue to enhance its offer and gain share.’