Tuesday 11 December 2018

Travis to focus on DIY solution for Wickes as tough trading persists

The group’s consumer division, which includes Wickes, posted a 4.2% fall in like-for-like sales.

Travis Perkins is having a tough time (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Travis Perkins is having a tough time (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Wickes owner Travis Perkins is to maintain its focus on cost-cutting after seeing another quarter of falling sales at its retail outlets.

The group’s consumer division, which includes Wickes, posted a 4.2% fall in like-for-like sales in the third quarter as its core kitchen and bathroom categories continued to suffer.

The poor showing from the DIY chain overshadowed a group-wide 3.9% sales increase and like-for-like comparable growth of 4.1%, driven by plumbing and heating and its merchanting arm.

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Travis Perkins chief executive John Carter (Craig Fraser/Travis Perkins/PA)

Boss John Carter said: “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.”

In July, Mr Carter said the group had launched a “comprehensive review” of the business following a profit warning.

Travis has previously pledged to take more costs out of the business and improve efficiency as the poor consumer confidence and a subdued property market have weighed on demand for DIY products.

The group took a £246 million writedown as a result and launched a hefty cost-cutting programme that saw its head office workforce slashed by a third in May, while it is also controlling branch staffing levels to match trade.

Press Association

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