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.

“There is no doubt DIY volumes are picking up and this positive momentum will continue over the short term. Homebase, in our view, continues to underperform, while Focus DIY is tracking the sector.”

Singer Capital Markets analyst Matthew McEachran said the good Easter might benefit B&Q-owner Kingfisher and Homebase-owner Home Retail Group’s shares.

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.”