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Strong third-quarter sales keep plans on track at Wickes and Toolstation

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Wickes remains on track to become a standalone business next year after reporting strong sales in the third quarter of its financial year. In a trading update, its parent company Travis Perkins also said that sales at sister company Toolstation were growing at an impressive rate and that the business would expand within Europe. 

Wickes still set for independence

Multichannel DIY retailer Wickes, ranked Leading in IRUK Top500 research, is still expected to become a standalone company in the second quarter of 2020 after reporting a strong performance both in core DIY sales, in kitchens and bathrooms thanks to greater lead generation through digital channels and as shoppers opted to have their purchases installed. Customers gained better access to a wider range of products through its online in-store ordering service. 

Total sales in the Travis Perkins retail division that includes Wickes were up by by 9.7% in the 13 weeks to September 28, compared to the same period last year. Sales were 8.3% ahead on a like-for-like (LFL) basis that strips out the effect of store openings and closures after a 1.4% decline in selling space. Sales in the year to date were 8.6% ahead in total, and by 9.7% LFL. 

Toolstation sales grow

Toolstation sales continued to grow at an impressive rate, said parent company Travis Perkins, as its UK branch network expanded to more than 370 branches. Like-for-like sales rose by 15.4% in the three months to September 30, while total sales were 21.3% ahead after a 5.9% expansion in selling space. The customer experience became more convenient, said Travis Perkins, as improvements including five-minute click and collect were introduced.

Toolstation, a Top150 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, is now set to expand within Europe after Travis Perkins acquired a controlling share of the Toolstation Europe business.

The rest of the group

Sales across the Travis Perkins group rose by 3.8% in total and 3.4% LFL in the third quarter. In the year to date they were 3.6% up in total and 4.7% LFL. Travis Perkins says it is on target to save between £20m and £30m a year by mid-2020. Doing so, it said, would reduce complexity, speed up decision making and improve customer service levels. However, it also said that the “current unprecedented level of uncertainty” meant that it had decide to pause its sale of its plumbing and heating business.

Travis Perkins chief executive Nick Roberts said: “Now in my third month since taking over as CEO of the Group, I have spent a considerable amount of time in our branches, learning about our businesses and our markets from colleagues, customers and suppliers. This has confirmed my initial impressions that our businesses are well positioned to compete strongly and win greater share in their markets in the future. I am particularly impressed by the quality of our teams and their commitment to excellent customer service. 

“The plan to simplify the group’s portfolio of businesses remains the right one, with good progress made through the quarter towards reducing cost and complexity and enabling greater focus and more disciplined capital allocation to our advantaged trade‐focused businesses.”

Image courtesy of Wickes

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