Ahead of its AGM later today, Wickes Group plc ("Wickes"), the market-leading home improvement retailer, announces year-to-date trading in line with expectations and reaffirms full year guidance.
David Wood, CEO of Wickes, commented:
“I am delighted to report continued momentum, and a promising start to the year where we continue to take market share. This performance is testament to the strength of our uniquely balanced business – across Trade, DIY and DIFM – and it has been achieved against strong prior year comparatives. I am particularly proud of our long-term performance, with sales remaining significantly ahead of pre-lockdown levels.
"Our focus remains on providing our customers with the products and services they need at great value. Our commitment to exceptional value has proven particularly effective amongst our local trade customer base, who continue to turn to us at a time when their own order books are at record levels.
“Our growth levers are delivering strong returns and we are excited about our plans to optimise our store estate with refits and new stores. Looking ahead, while we remain mindful of the uncertain macroeconomic environment, we continue to be confident of the opportunities available to Wickes within the large and growing home improvement market.”
Group LFL sales for the first 20 weeks are down (0.6%) versus the prior year. Core LFL sales are (7.2%) down, with delivered DIFM sales up by 30.9%. On a three-year basis, which compares with the pre-Covid period, total group sales are 22.4% ahead.
Core sales reflect continued buoyant demand in Local Trade with trade customer order books remaining at record levels. Participation in our TradePro scheme remains strong and we have added over 40,000 customers in the year to date. Like many businesses, we have seen inflation continue during the period, and we are managing this responsibly while maintaining our leading price position.
DIFM delivered sales growth was excellent, resulting from the successful conversion of the elevated pipeline of orders at year end and a strong Winter sale. Installation lead times have returned closer to more normal levels, and we continue to expect delivered sales for the full year to be ahead of 2019.