Travis Perkins’ consumer arm, which largely comprises Wickes, recorded flat like-for-like sales in its third quarter due to the ‘challenging’ market.

Travis Perkins revealed in the 13 weeks to September 29 total sales across the group jumped 8.6% and were up 4% year-to-date. Like-for-like sales increased 6.3% in the quarter and 2.8% year-to-date.

Travis Perkins said its trade divisions experienced stronger sales momentum but the consumer market is “lagging”.

It said the flat like-for-like performance is a “significant reduction” from the 8.6% growth recorded in the two months to June 30, 2013.

It added that Wickes and Tile Giant recorded minimal benefit from the warmer summer weather due to their limited range in outdoor categories. Travis Perkins said it has been cutting costs to offset the impact of weaker growth.  

Travis Perkins chief executive Geoff Cooper said: “While still early in the recovery of our markets, the stronger trading conditions experienced by our merchanting businesses in particular is a reassuring indicator of improved sentiment in construction.

“The recovery in activity, signalled by us in early 2013, looks set to continue into 2014 as owners’ and occupiers’ construction and maintenance activity increases from the very low levels encountered over the last five years. The group is well positioned, as the leading supplier of building materials in the UK, to take advantage of this recovery.”

Travis Perkins expects to have net debt of £350m to £370m at year-end.