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Digital-first Wickes says sales are softening as shoppers take longer to commit to big ticket projects

Image courtesy of Wickes

Wickes says it’s seeing sales soften as shoppers take longer to commit to big ticket projects in an uncertain economy.

The digital-first multichannel home improvement retailer says that while it was working through a strong order book for ‘do it for me’ projects in the first half of the year, new orders are now slowing – although cancellations of existing orders remain low. At the same time DIY sales are also lower than last year. 

Trade sales have been very strong, and Wickes says its TradePro customer base grew by 60,000 to 690,000 in the first half. 

Wickes today said, in a first-half trading update for the 26 weeks to July 2, that total sales grew by 0.8% in the first half of its financial year, compared to the same time last year. Core sales were down by 5.5% in the 26 weeks to July 2, but ‘do it for me’ (DIFM) service sales were 29.7% ahead of last time. Total first half sales were 23.4% ahead of the same period in pre-pandemic 2019. 

In the second quarter alone, total sales were 5.4% ahead, year-on-year, with core sales down by 0.2% and DIFM sales up by 30.9%. However, since then, both DIY and DIFM sales have softened in a way that, says Wickes, “suggests customers are reacting to the uncertain macroeconomic backdrop as we enter the second half of our financial year”. The home improvement retailer now expects full-year adjusted pre-tax profit to be in the range of £72m to £82m. 

David Wood, chief executive of Wickes, says: “Wickes has delivered another strong performance, as the business continues to provide the best value, choice and availability for customers. Our TradePro scheme is expanding with great momentum as tradespeople turn to Wickes for value during a period in which consumers are becoming more price conscious. It is encouraging to see continued outperformance in our core market share despite recent signs of softening in the DIY market. We continue to do a great job engaging DIFM (do it for me) customers as they take a little more time to consider their purchases.

“Our investment for growth progressed in the period with five store refits completed in the first half which continue to drive strong returns. We remain watchful of the macroeconomic backdrop and are managing the business appropriately to navigate these external pressures. We are confident that our uniquely balanced business model and great value offer for customers will enable us to continue to deliver for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”

Wickes sells online, through its Wickes DIY and Trade Pro mobile apps, and through 231 shops. It is ranked Top50 in RXUK Top500 research.

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