Travis Perkins’ consumer arm, which largely comprises Wickes, experienced a fall in first-half like-for-likes owing to poor spring weather, but profits jumped 7.3% to £29.5m.
Like-for-likes dipped 1.1% in the six months to June 30 and total sales remained flat at £586.6m. Wickes said the poor weather in the first four months of the year impacted sales.
In the last eight weeks of the period, sales surged 8.6%.
Operating margin improved 30 basis points over the half due to gross margin rising and cost control.
The retailer continued to lower prices during the half through its red pencil marketing programme. However, gross margins were helped by better sourcing and the removal of loyalty scheme MyCard last year.
Wickes said that, despite the weather, it improved its market share during the first four months of the year, driven by kitchen and bathroom sales, as well as the introduction of trade-requested brands.
Property costs were reduced as Wickes downsized some of its larger stores, subletting the space and moving to smaller sites. This is an ongoing programme that will “significantly benefit the business going forward”, according to the retailer.
Other Travis Perkins-owned retailers experienced a good start to the year. Toolstation sales and profits increased through both like-for-like growth and store expansion. The retailer added 11 shops to its estate and operated out of 134 stores in the UK at the end of June.
The first four Toolstation shop-in-shops opened within existing Wickes sites and are making “strong progress”, according to the retailer.
Toolstation is at present testing the waters in the Netherlands and has five stores in the country.
Tile Giant “traded well in a tough market” over the half. It achieved positive like-for-likes over the period, with improved trading momentum in May and June.