The owner of the Wickes DIY chain Travis Perkins overcame the extreme early Spring weather to report a 2.4 percent per cent rise in like-for-like sales during the first quarter.
The group, which is also the UK’s biggest builders’ merchant, was boosted by a 19.7 per cent rise in underlying sales from its restructured plumbing and heating business.
Travis Perkins said the ‘Beast from the East’ affected sales in February and March, but the firm’s overall expectations for 2018 remain unchanged.
Strong results: The UK’s biggest builders merchant Travis Perkins overcame the extreme Spring weather to report a three per cent rise in like-for-like sales during the first quarter
Like-for-like sales in its consumer division – the Wickes chain – also fell 4.6 per cent, reflecting weak consumer sentiment.
Boss John Carter said: ‘Adverse weather conditions have impacted sales across the group in February and March, but our overall expectations for 2018 remain unchanged and are supported by our actions to reduce costs.
‘Whilst the mixed trading conditions in our markets are expected to continue in the near term, we remain confident in the longer-term outlook for the building materials market.’
Travis pledged to take more costs out of the business and improve efficiency, while pointing to ‘mixed’ market indicators, such as mortgage approvals, housing transactions and property prices.
The group has previously said that sales growth has been helped by inflation-driven price increases after the pound’s slump following the Brexit vote saw costs rocket.
Last month, Kingfisher, Europe’s second largest home improvement retailer, warned the outlook for the UK market was ‘more uncertain’ after a dip in trading.
Adverse conditions: Travis said the Beast from the East affected sales in February and March, but the firm’s overall expectations for 2018 remain unchanged
And yesterday Homebase/Bunnings reported a 15.4 per cent slump in quarterly sales with owner Australia’s Wesfarmers currently reviewing the future of the business.
Separately today a long-running survey by market research company GfK found British consumer sentiment fell back this month as households grew more worried about their finances and remained gloomy about the economic outlook.
Another survey from mortgage lender Nationwide said house prices in Britain rose a bit more quickly this month after touching a seven-month low in March.
Declining sales: Like-for-like sales in its consumer division – the Wickes chain – also fell 4.6 per cent, reflecting weak consumer sentiment
In February, Travis Perkins forecast a flat performance in 2018 and said it would slow investment in non-priority areas.
It made core earnings of £380million in 2017.
Shares in Travis Perkins, down 21 per cent year-on-year, declined 1.2 per cent in early trading today.