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Wickes reports 32% rise in sales and says digital was an important factor in that growth

Image courtesy of Wickes

Wickes says two thirds of its sales were driven by digital in the first half of its financial year – and that its strong digital capabilities are helping it to retain customers who prefer to shop online. 

In the first six weeks of its new virtual ‘do it for me’ showroom – developed to replace its bricks and mortar kitchen and bathroom showrooms during lockdowns – visitors engaged with the technology a million times. That le to a “resilient” level of sales despite closures during the Wickes winter sale. 

The retailer, reporting its first sales since its demerger from the Travis Perkins Group, today said sales were up by almost a third and that it had moved back into profit at the bottom line. During lockdowns in the early part of the first half, it invested in services including park and collect, in-store digital picking with a handheld terminal, and developed in-store fulfilment space in order to support multichannel sales. At the same time it continued to expand its installer network, adding 350 new teams in the first half of the year and operating an installer apprenticeship programme. 

The update came as Wickes today reported sales of £812m in the half-year to June 26. That’s a rise of almost a third (32.5%) compared to the same time last year. Reported on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of store openings and closures, sales grew by 33.1% on last year, and by 22.4% on 2019. Sales of core products came to £66.7m, 35.6% up on last year, while sales of ‘do it for me’ services came to £145.3m, 20.3% ahead of last year.

Pre-tax profits came in at £35.7m, up from a loss of £5.5m last year, and the retailer, which is ranked Leading in RXUK Top500 research, now predicts its full-year adjusted pre-tax profits will be “towards the upper end of market expectations”. 

Wickes chief executive David Wood says: “This is a strong first half performance underpinned by our attractive digitally-led, service-enabled proposition. In our first set of results since demerger, we have delivered an increase in sales and profits as we continue to help the nation feel house proud. As a business we have responded well to the increase in demand across our three routes to market, supporting all our customers.”

He adds: “Throughout this period, our strong relationships with suppliers means that we have navigated inflationary pressures and raw material constraints well – and this remains the case. We continue to provide customers with the products and services they need at the best possible value.”

And he says there are opportunities for growth in the housing improvement market as customers continue to improve their homes. “The increased time spent at home has fuelled the desire to renovate and refurbish – not only from homeowners – but also amongst rental tenants and the millennial generation. 

“While the immediate external environment remains volatile, we look to the future with confidence. We expect to deliver a full year adjusted profit before tax towards the upper end of expectations, and beyond that, we have the right business model to win over more customers and capitalise on the growth opportunities within a large and growing home improvement market.” 

Wickes sells through 232 shops, online and through its TradePro mobile app – where it added personalisation, targeted promotional offers and early sight of offers in order to boost loyalty in the first half of the year.

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