Analysts have welcomed signs of a stabilising DIY market after Wickes disclosed an improved sales performance over Easter.
The retailer revealed it had enjoyed a “successful” holiday period as like-for-like sales increased 2.9 per cent in March and April.
The figures were disclosed as Wickes’ parent company, builders’ merchant Travis Perkins, staged a fully underwritten rights issue. The initiative will raise £300m for the company, which has been hit by the collapse of the property market.
In the 18 weeks to May 2, like-for-likes fell 3.6 per cent at Travis Perkins’ retail arm – of which Wickes accounts for 90 per cent of sales and Toolstation and Tile Giant the rest. Wickes said it made “significant gains” in kitchens and bathrooms, with like-for-like sales on a delivered basis up 12.5 per cent.
Seymour Pierce analyst Freddie George said: “Wickes benefited, as did all DIY retailers, from the demise of MFI.
Travis Perkins chief executive Geoff Cooper said: “The group’s brands have attractive market positions and the rights issue will facilitate our commitment to growing our market share.”