Retail chain Wickes has reported “continued volume declines” in its core DIY and kitchen and bathroom showroom categories, according to third-quarter figures from parent company Travis Perkins. “Significant pricing competition” across the sector had prevented the recovery of cost price inflation.
However, Wickes says that pricing pressure has begun to moderate in recent weeks, with kitchen and bathroom order activity showing “some early signs of recovery.”
With indicators, such as secondary housing transactions, house prices, and consumer confidence, continuing to paint a mixed picture, parent company Travis Perkins remains cautious about the near-term market outlook.
The wider picture for the group was one of “solid trading performance in line with market expectations”, the report said. Q3 group total sales were up 3.9%, and like-for-like sales grew by 4.1%. Combined merchant businesses – including the general merchanting, contracts and plumbing and heating divisions – achieved like-for-like growth of 7%.
Travis Perkins’ Chief Executive, John Carter, commented: “Our trade-focused businesses delivered good sales growth against a challenging market backdrop, including successful recovery of cost price inflation. The UK DIY market continues to be very challenging for Wickes, where significant price pressure, and weak consumer confidence, is providing a tough trading backdrop.”
“Across the group, we are making good progress with the cost-reduction activities that were highlighted in July, and these actions are generating positive results and underpin our confidence that our full-year performance is on track and in line with market expectations.”
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