Howdens UK depots' total revenue for Periods 7 to 11 increased by 4.9% and by 2.0% on a same depot basis, on the comparable Periods in 2018, with gross margin during Periods 7 to 11 being in line with management expectations. The Company remains on track to meet the Board's expectations for sales and profits for the full year.
Howdens also expects to open a total of around 40 depots in the UK in 2019, including five in Northern Ireland, taking the total number of depots in the UK to around 734. Five new depots are also expected to be opened in France.
Howdens has acquired 1.7m shares since July 2019, and a total of 10.8m shares in 2019 to date, at a cost of £55.2m. As a result, we have completed the £60m buyback programme that was announced in February 2018 and half of the £50m programme announced on 28 February 2019.