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Wickes sales hit by Olympic disruption and poor summer weather

Travis Perkins saw its like-for-like sales fall by 7% in its consumer-facing division, which includes the Wickes DIY chain, as trade was disrupted by the wet summer weather and the impact of the Olympic Games.

However, the group said it saw a noticeable improvement in sales trends towards the end of the quarter when the disruptions were over and the colder weather boosted plumbing and heating activity.

In the quarter ending 30 September, which included one less trading day than last year, total sales declined by 2.4% year-on-year. Travis Perkins said its group like-for-like sales had held up "relatively well" compared to the second quarter with a 3.5% decline on the same period last year.

Like-for-like sales rose by 1.3% in the Specialist Merchanting division while in General Merchanting like-for-like sales declined by 1.5%. The Plumbing & Heating division saw a 4.7% fall.

Travis Perkins said its gross margins had come under pressure during the quarter and as a result the group was "intensifying" its tight control of costs.

Geoff Cooper, the group's chief executive, said: "Trading improved in September after the uneven and fragile trading conditions experienced so far this year, and our continuing tight management of costs and efficiency gains from self-help projects mean we remain on target to meet market expectations."

In a separate statement, Travis Perkins announced that group financial director Paul Hampden Smith would be retiring from the board early next year after 20 years with the business although he will remain with the group until September 2013 to ensure a smooth handover.

Source : Retail Bulletin

12 October 2012
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