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Digital-first Wickes sees third-quarter sales growth – but warns of inflation uncertainty, including to its own energy costs

Wickes now offers 30 minute click and collect from all its 230 stores. Image: Wickes

Wickes today points to improved sales growth in the third-quarter of its financial year. But it says that uncertainty remains around inflation and consumer confidence – and warns its own energy costs could be £7.5m higher in its 2023 financial year than the previous year if they remain at the current price cap for businesses. That is currently due to end in April when costs could potentially rise still further. 

However, retail price inflation has fallen back for Wickes, partly as the cost of timber reduced. 

The digital-first DIY retailer, ranked Top50 in RXUK Top500 research, rolled out its 30 minute click and collect service in the third quarter of its financial year. It completed three store refits during the quarter and since then has opened a new Bolton shop and expects more openings in 2023. 

The update comes as Wickes says in a third-quarter trading update, for the 13 weeks to October 1, that sales grew by 2.6% in the quarter. That’s an improvement on the 0.8% growth it reported in the first half of the year, when sales had fallen in the first quarter (-4%) but grown more strongly in the second (+5.4%). 

Its core DIY sales were flat on last year, but sales of do-it-for-me (DIFM) services rose by 12.2% on last year. Sales were 19.2% ahead of the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, with core sales 27.3% ahead but DIFM sales down by 1.7%. 

But although Wickes is still working through its delayed DIFM order book, it says that orders placed in the third-quarter are down compared to the same time last year as “customers are taking longer to commit to big ticket projects”.

Trade sales were strong as its TradePro customers grew by 10k a month to about 720k – reflecting, says Wickes, growing awareness of the scheme and “its compelling value proposition.”

Wickes now expects full-year adjusted pre-tax profits to come in at between £72m and £82m.

David Wood, Wickes chief executive, says: “This has been a period of further progress across all parts of the business, with customers and tradespeople continuing to come to Wickes on the strength of our value, availability and service.

“While we are watchful of external headwinds, we are continuing to focus on our growth levers and on maintaining rigorous control of our costs. Our uniquely balanced business model leaves us well placed to continue to outperform the market.”

The figures follow record first-half revenues of £822.3m, 1.3% higher than the previous year. 

Wickes sells online and through 230 shops that support nationwide fulfilment through digital channels including its website, TradePro mobile app and DIY app. 

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