Tile Giant generated a 1.8 per cent rise and Wickes 1.5 per cent. For the same period, Wickes’ like-for-like sales per trading day were down 3 per cent, with core products down 2.8 per cent and showroom sales down 3.9 per cent.
Travis Perkins has refinanced its existing five-year borrowing facility, which was arranged in 2004 for the acquisition of Wickes and was due for repayment in December 2009. The new£1 billion facility lasts five years from April this year to support group expansion.
Since the end of 2007, the group has added eight Wickes stores and 36 Tile Giant shops. In the first quarter, it spent£30 million on capital expenditure and a further£30 million on acquisitions.
Chairman Tim Stevenson said: “Our recent experience shows that acquisition prices have not yet fallen sufficiently to reflect prevailing circumstances and we have therefore withdrawn from a number of acquisition possibilities. As a result – and without a significant upturn in market conditions – it is likely that our current rate of capital expenditure and acquisition spend will halve for the remainder of the year.”
Group turnover for the same period was up 6.8 per cent compared with the same period in 2007. Stevenson said: “As indicated in March, we expect our markets to weaken further as the year progresses.”
He added: “Recent lead indicators – particularly from the housing market and on declining consumer confidence and disposable income – confirm this continued slowing of activity levels. In that context, with our resilient business model and increased banking facility, we are in a sound position to mitigate the cash-and-profit effect of a tougher trading environment.”