Like-for-like sales at Travis Perkins’ retail arm, which is largely comprised of DIY retailer Wickes, were hit by the wet weather falling 5.6% for the nine weeks to April 30, against 5.2% for the 13 weeks to the same date.

But when taking sales at newly acquired Tool Station into account, total like-for-like sales for the retail division were down 3.2% for the nine week period against a 2.6% fall across the 13 week peiord.

The retail division includes tile retailer Tile Giant.

The group said: “After a good first quarter, record levels of rainfall contributed to a weaker performance in April and the early part of May where activity levels at sites continue to be impacted by the very wet weather.”

Gross margin improved 2.5% in line with the comparable period last year.

Travis Perkins said chief executive Geoff Cooper said: “We are pleased with the good progress in the first quarter, in particular the balance between continued share gains and our achievements on gross margins.”

Since the end of the 2011 calendar year group underlying debt has reduced by £50m to £533m across the four months to April 30 and it is on target to shrink this to £450m by the year end.