Wet weather hits sales at Travis Perkins
Travis Perkins, the owner of the Wickes DIY chain, said it is on track to meet its profit expectations for the year despite slowing sales in April due to the wet weather.
Like-for-like sales fell 5.6% in the nine weeks to 30 April compared with a decline of 5.2% in the 17 weeks to 30 April.
Travis Perkins said in a statement: "After a good first quarter, record levels of rainfall contributed to a weaker performance in April and the early part of May where activity levels at sites continue to be impacted by the very wet weather."
Group revenues rose 4.4% from 1 January to 30 April 2012 from a year earlier. Total revenue in General Merchanting increased by 6.1% and by 6.3% in Specialist Merchanting. Revenue at Plumbing & Heating fell 3.1%.
The group said that its increased focus on gross margins had yielded good results. Gross margin, before synergy gains, was in line with the equivalent period last year. In addition the integration of the group's acquisition BSS is progressing well and its synergy programme remains on course to deliver the £30 million of gains this year.
"We have made good progress towards securing our targeted £15 million property profit for the year. Due to the timing of contract completions in 2012 this gain is expected to be recognised in H2 whereas in 2011 the comparable gain to EBITA occurred in H1," the group said.
Chief executive Geoff Cooper added: "We are pleased with the good progress in the first quarter, in particular the balance between continued share gains and our achievements on gross margins."
Travis Perkins said overall the outlook for the year remains unchanged and it is confident of meeting consensus expectations.
The group reduced its underlying net debt by £50 million in the four-month period from the £583 million reported at 31 December 2011 adding that it was on track to meet its £450 million year-end net debt target.
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