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Toolstation sales growth moderates as customers return to more normal shopping patterns, a year on from Covid-19 lockdowns

Toolstation has seen sales slow while costs have risen. Image: Bjoern Wylezich/Shutterstock

Toolstation sales grew more slowly as customers returned to more normal shopping patterns, a year on from the height of Covid-19 lockdowns and trading restrictions. Third-quarter sales from DIY shoppers moderated from the “exceptional demand” seen a year earlier, parent company Travis Perkins said today, while trade sales were “very robust”.

Toolstation sales grew by 1.4% on a like-for-like (LFL) basis that strips out the effect of store – and business – openings and closures, parent company Travis Perkins said today, as its “customer mix normalised”. The figures for the three months to the end of September contrast with a period in 2020 when the retailer, ranked Top50 in RXUK Top500 research, saw “exceptional demand” from DIY shoppers as furloughed workers and those working from home carried out home improvement work.

UK sales were, however, 45% ahead of the same period in 2019, while sales across its business were 25.2% ahead of 2019. Toolstation said that demand from its core trade customer base was “very robust”. In Europe, it is winning new trade customers as it opens new branches. 

The update came as Toolstation’s parent company Travis Perkins said that its LFL sales were 13.1% ahead of the same time last year, with LFL sales at its builders’ merchant division 15.3% ahead of last year. 

Travis Perkins says that it has seen inflationary pressure across the industry, with manufacturer and commodity prices rising by around 11% in the third quarter. However, it says it is benefiting from an “extensive supply chain and strong supplier relationships” in order to make sure products are available for its customers. The board now expects adjusted operating profit for the full year 2021 will be ahead of current market expectations, coming in at at least £340m, including around £40m from property profits.

Travis Perkins chief executive Nick Roberts says: “The group has delivered a strong performance in the third quarter and is navigating well-documented supply chain and cost inflation challenges very capably. End market demand remains robust and we are confident that we are in a strong position to deliver future growth. As outlined at our investor update in September, the focus of the group is to enhance our market leading propositions to win share and to provide new value added services to our customers as the construction process evolves to improve quality, drive efficiency and reduce carbon and waste.”

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