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Wickes owner Travis Perkins grows consumer division's first-half profits by 7.3%

Travis Perkins has reported that its consumer division, which includes the Wickes DIY chain, Toolstation and Tile Giant, grew its first half profits by 7.3% to £29.5 million despite a fall in revenue and like-for-like sales.

In the six months to 30 June 2013, the division’s like-for-like sales declined by 1.1% while revenue edged down 0.2% to £586.6 million.

Travis Perkins said the division had improved its operating margin by 30 bps to 5.0% in the period as a result of good cost control.

Although Wickes saw a fall in first-half revenue due to the poor weather in the first four months of the year, trade picked up in May and June with revenue for the last eight weeks of the period rising 8.6% on 2012.

Travis Perkins said its Toolstation business increased both its revenue and profits in the period through a combination of like-for-like growth and continued expansion.

It added that Tile Giant had traded well in a tough market, with positive like-for-like revenue for the first half and improved trading momentum in May and June.

Across the group, which also includes specialist merchanting, general merchanting and plumbing and heating divisions, Travis Perkins reported an underlying pre-tax profit of £136.1 million and a 1.6% increase in revenue to £2.45 billion.

Travis Perkins chief executive Geoff Cooper said: "We anticipated a poor first quarter, however this was exacerbated by the early and cold weather and Easter. Lead indicators for the remainder of this year, and for 2014, are strengthening, with new housing leading the way.

"All four divisions are making progress with an improving trend in all markets and are flexibly managing volume, gross margin and costs so as to optimise returns.

"With our management teams' proven ability to select and execute trading tactics matched to market conditions, we are confident of further sales growth and improving returns. Our increasing confidence in this is reflected in the 25% increase in the interim dividend payable in November."

Travis Perkins also announced that Cooper will retire in the new year and will be succeeded as chief executive by John Carter, the current deputy chief executive.

Source: The Retail Bulletin

25 July 2013
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