UK home improvement retailer Wickes says business demand is buoyant

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LONDON, May 26 (Reuters) – British home improvement retailer Wickes (WIX.L) said demand from professional customers, such as builders, plumbers and electricians, had remained “floating” so far this year, highlighting that the region was a rare bright spot in the economy.

Wickes, who parted ways with TPK.L’s Travis Perkins in April last year, said business client order books were at record highs. Read more

Sales in the 20 weeks to May 21 had been 22.4% higher than three years earlier – that is, before the distortions created by the COVID-19 period – the company said.

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Like-for-like Group sales were down 0.6% year-on-year, with core sales down 7.2% year-on-year and do-it sales -for-me (DIFM) up 30.9% year-over-year.

Wickes said he continued to gain market share and manage inflationary pressures. He reaffirmed his forecast for the full year.

“Our commitment to exceptional value has proven particularly effective with our local business customers, who continue to turn to us at a time when their own order books are at record highs,” said CEO David Woods.

Home improvement retailers performed well during the pandemic, with more people turning to DIY (do it yourself) as they spent more time at home, had fewer leisure options and traveled less.

Wickes’ biggest rival Kingfisher (KGF.L) said on Monday the DIY and trade markets were proving “resilient”. Read more

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Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Jan Harvey and Bradley Perrett

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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