Wickes like-for-likes increased 1.9% in the 17 weeks to April 30.

However, in the last nine weeks of the period, like-for-likes declined 1.2%.

Total sales were up 3.1% in the 17 week period.

The retailer said it has grown market share in the period.

Core product, representing 80% of turnover, jumped 5.9%. However kitchen and bathroom sales slumped 12%, “reflecting weakening consumer confidence for major purchases”.

Wickes parent Travis Perkins said gross margins have “slightly improved” in its retail division, which also includes Tile Giant and Toolstation.

Travis Perkins chief executive Geoff Cooper said a “challenging consumer environment” was hitting sales in its retail division.

He said: “After strong early progress against weak weather related comparatives, we are pleased with the overall progress the group has made in the first four months of this year.

“Current trading is in line with management expectations.

“We continue to take market share against a tough market backdrop, confirming the sustainable strength of our organic growth strategy.”