Wickes has posted an increase in sales during its first quarter, driven by a “strong turnaround” in its kitchen and bathroom categories.

The DIY retailer’s like-for-like sales jumped 10% during the 13 weeks to March 30, a marked improvement on the 7.9% slump during the same period the previous year. Total sales advanced 9.4% in the quarter.

Wickes said performance across its core DIY business and the kitchen and bathroom categories was bolstered by “continued improvement” in execution and the “competitor decisions to exit the design and install service” in the second half of 2018.

But owner Travis Perkins said sales growth was partially offset by the timing of Easter, which fell outside of its first quarter this year.

Sister retailer Toolstation’s like-for-likes surged 19.1%, underpinned by the launch of a new website and the “successful extension” of its online ranges. Total sales accelerated at the quicker rate of 25%, aided by new store openings. Travis Perkins said Toolstation was “on track” to open 60 new stores in the UK in 2019, and added it was also making “encouraging progress” to expand in Europe. 

At group level, Travis Perkins’ like-for-likes grew 7.3% with total sales increasing 5.4%. Its only division to suffer a fall in sales was its plumbing and heating arm, where like-for-likes fell 4%. The business blamed this on milder weather conditions during the period.

Travis Perkins group chief executive John Carter said: “We have delivered strong sales growth in the first quarter of the year, which reflects both our focus on excellent customer service and the weak comparator in 2018.

“This performance is all the more encouraging given the impact of the on-going political uncertainty on our end markets.”