Travis Perkins has provided an update on the group's position, in light of the Covid-19 crisis.
Since late March, the Group has been running a service-light operating model, focusing on serving customers through remote, non-contact channels.
Throughout the early weeks of the lockdown, around a third of its total Merchanting branches and around half of all Plumbing and Heating branches were operating. These sites have been primarily running call and collect or direct delivery services to support essential construction programmes. These include the construction of key NHS assets including the Nightingale hospital network, the ongoing maintenance of national infrastructure and support for the essential repair and maintenance of domestic homes.
Wickes and Toolstation have been operating across the vast majority of their branch networks, with branches acting as fulfilment centres for transactions completed via digital channels for either direct delivery, or with essential items being available for collection within a designated time slot. The Wickes Kitchen & Bathroom design and installation service, usually contributing around a third of Wickes sales, remains closed.
In the first three weeks of April, operating through the service-light model, Group total revenue was approximately one-third of the same period in 2019 on a comparable basis.
In recent weeks, the Group has been working closely with customers, suppliers, trade bodies and the UK Government to develop safe-working protocols which can be applied across the construction supply chain to enable more activity to be carried out safely under lockdown.
Since 20 April, the Group has been carefully opening more of its Merchant branch network, with branches continuing to operate the service-light, non-contact operating model. This will give greater support to large construction firms and subcontractors as they restart construction sites, and give smaller, local trade customers improved access to products. Revenue performance in Wickes and Toolstation has continued to improve with the businesses responding at pace to the changing nature of the trading environment, reconfiguring to significantly increase the capability of distribution networks to cope with the high levels of consumer demand.
Nick Roberts, chief executive, commented:
"In light of the Covid-19 emergency, we have established a new operating model that has kept colleagues and customers safe, operating within Government guidelines, and enabling branches across all of the Group's businesses to remain open. Moreover, we have provided essential services and support to keep the nation's critical infrastructure maintained and operational and the UK's homes warm, dry and safe during this time of need.
"We continue to adapt our operations, applying stringent social distancing and using technology to enable contactless operations, and we are therefore able to respond to the Government's call to ensure that the construction industry can continue to deliver on crucial programmes and projects and be an engine for future economic recovery.
"As we move forward we will continue to adjust our operations, with our foremost priority to keep colleagues and customers safe and the industry supplied with the materials it needs."