Profits at Travis Perkins up 25%
Travis Perkins, the owner of Wickes and Toolstation, has reported a 25.2% rise in pre-tax profits in the six months to end June despite construction activity being inhibited by the prolonged period of wet weather in the second quarter.
Pre-tax profit after exceptional items increased to £161.8 million in the period while group revenue rose 2.7% to £2.41 billion, down 0.7% on a like-for-like basis.
Lower consumer confidence and poor weather resulted in like-for-like volumes falling by 8.8% in the group's consumer division which includes Wickes and Toolstation. However, overall turnover for the division increased by 14.5%, driven mainly by Toolstation and the performance of the group’s thirteen ex- Focus stores, now trading as Wickes.
Travis Perkins said it had taken steps to alleviate its rent burden by reducing the footprint of some of its larger, less profitable Wickes locations by sub letting part of them to other retailers. It also relocated a number of stores to smaller sites.
Toolstation performed strongly in the period with year-on-year total sales up 35.8%. Eleven new stores were opened in the first half taking the total to 114 at 30 June.
Chief executive Geoff Cooper said: "Whilst weather patterns normally average themselves out over any trading period, it has been difficult to ignore the impact on the results of the first half trading of the wettest three months since records began.
"This has inhibited construction activity and particularly constrained turnover in our heavy-side related businesses in a market already struggling to recover to more normal levels. Despite this, we have, in balancing sales volumes and gross margin, traded sensibly throughout the period across all four divisions."
Travis Perkins said it was confident that it would meet the 2012 full-year consensus expectations.
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