DIY chain Wickes like-for-likes remained flat in 2010, rising 0.2%, but current trading has improved.
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In the year to December 31, the like-for-like performance comprised a 2% fall in core products and a 9.5% rise in kitchens and bathrooms.
In January like-for-likes soared 12%, as the retailer came up against soft comparables due to heavy snowfall in January 2010. Within this figure Wickes core products were up 12% while kitchen and bathroom sales soared 15%.
In the first three weeks of February like-for-like growth slowed to 2%, with core products up 3% and kitchens and bathrooms falling 2%.
Wickes total sales in the year were up 2.3% to £1bn, driven by new store openings.
Builders merchant parent Travis Perkins said its retail division, which also includes Tile Giant and Toolstation, “outperformed” its market by around 6%. The retailer said it benefited from an improved customer proposition - particularly in multi-channel.
Wickes said the kitchen and bathroom market in 2011 has been “weak”. Orders fell 3% in January and in February they slumped 36%. The retailer said this decline “reflects a combination of pre-VAT increase advanced ordering in late 2010, rather than early 2011, and recent competitor discounting”.
However Wickes said kitchen and bathrooms gross margins were ahead of 2009.
Wickes acknowledged that “all retail markets were tough in 2010”, particularly DIY, which was “badly affected by falling consumer confidence”.
Wickes added: “Despite starting the year well we expect conditions for the next 12 months to remain difficult. There is considerable gloom in the wider economy, but we do not subscribe to the double-dip theory.”
Wickes said that its greatest market share gains were made on the trade side, as opposed to the consumer side.
Travis Perkins group adjusted pretax profit soared 20% to £217m. Group revenue increased 8% to £3.2bn with 5 like-for-likes up 5%.
Travis Perkins chief executive Geoff Cooper said: “The Group made excellent progress in 2010, a year in which our organic development strategy, against a background of depressed levels of construction activity, produced a strong financial performance.
“The Group achieved further market share gains and impressive increases in profits.”
He said this year Travis Perkins aims to drive organic growth and cash generation.
He added: “We have made a strong start to 2011 and consequently we look forward to another year of good progress.”