Wickes’ owner, Travis Perkins, reported a decline in sales at its retail arm that analysts believe will be mirrored in updates from rivals B&Q and Homebase next month.
In the 17 weeks to May 1 like-for-like sales dipped 1.7% and revenue edged up 0.3% at the retail arm - principally Wickes - as “wary consumers held on to their money”.
Wickes’ like-for-likes climbed 12.6% in kitchens and bathrooms, but fell 5.1% in core products. However, that decline softened to 3.8% in the most recent nine-week period. “This improving trend has continued into the first two weeks of May,” the retailer said, adding that, despite increased use of promotions by its rivals, Wickes had “gained market share and maintained gross margins” in the 17-week period.
Shore Capital analyst Kate Calvert said increased promotions by B&Q and Homebase reflected “the more difficult comparatives for the whole industry and the later spring season by four to six weeks as a result of the much colder weather this year”.
Calvert said she expected “subdued” first-quarter updates from B&Q and Homebase.