Travis Perkins’ consumer arm, which largely consists of Wickes, has reported its adjusted operating profit increased 22.7% to £77m.
This is a profit increase from £63m in 2013. Wickes posted revenue growth of 8.8% to £1.3bn, while its like-for-like sales grew 7.3% for its year ending December 31 2014.
But the retailer insisted that higher volumes on like-for-like sales in its consumer division was tempered as Wickes lowered prices and provided promotions in order to enhance its position in the DIY market.
Over the last year Travis Perkins has set about a transformation programme for its retail arm Wickes, making improvements to value, branded ranges, promotions and customer service, while also unveiling a new website and click-and-collect service.
Travis Perkins said that while it was early in the transformation programme for Wickes, customer feedback to the changes implemented have so far has been positive.
John Carter, chief executive said: “Whilst it is still relatively early in the recovery of the UK construction industry, the new housing market, new commercial and industrial markets and the repair, maintenance and improvement market (“RMI”) have been performing largely as we expected.
“As we expected, the key lead indicators have settled into a still positive, but more moderated and consistent trend. This backdrop, allied to our “self-help” growth initiatives, should support on-going market-share gains, medium-term double-digit operating profit growth and continuing growth in return on capital.
“Our key priorities remain on modernising General Merchanting, transforming Wickes and reconfiguring our plumbing and heating businesses to better suit their customers’ needs. Structural advantages in sourcing and supply chain allied to superior ranges, availability and value propositions should enable the Group to sustain market outperformance and give us confidence in the Group’s prospects for the foreseeable future.”
According to Travis Perkins, new stores contributed 2.1% to sales during 2014 with four new Wickes stores opening alongside 33 new Toolstation shops. At the end of 2014, Toolstation operated from 184 shops and Wickes from 232 stores.
The retailer said that further improvements and investments are planned in 2015 alongside an acceleration in the store-opening programme. Wickes plans to open between five and 10 new stores per year, while Toolstation is planning to open more than 30 shops in 2015.