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Wickes' sales boosted, as shoppers rush to beat VAT hike

Published: 14 December 2010
Despite drop in sales of core products, Travis Perkins-owned DIY chain sees turnover jump 4.2% in last eight weeks of trading period, as consumers bring purchases forward.
Wickes reported a 2.7% increase in total turnover for the 47-week trading period to November 27. During this period like-for-like (lfl) turnover per trading day was up 0.6%, with core products down 2.1%. Kitchen and bathroom sales gave a much stronger performance, up 12.5%.

However, the last eight weeks of the reported trading period saw lfl turnover per trading day jump 4.2%, with, said Travis Perkins, "evidence of buying ahead of the VAT increase". A number of retailers, including B&Q and Tile Depot, have brought January sales forward this year in order to make the most of this trend.

Gross margins at Wickes for the second half of the year are also said to be ahead of last year, continuing the trend of the first six months. However, Travis Perkins believes the snow earlier this month could hit trading figures.

The group's latest trading update explained: "Whilst the most recent two months' trading has seen a continuation of both satisfactory growth and market share gains, the exceptionally poor weather at the beginning of December is expected to have some impact on our sales trends and financial performance for the last month of the year."

Group trading for Travis Perkins, including its merchanting division, was up 6.5% for the eleven months to the end of November, compared with the same period in 2009. Total turnover in the merchanting division was up 8.3% for the period, with lfl turnover per trading day up 7.8%.


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