After suffering a 35% fall in sales during the second quarter when lockdown was deepest, Travis Perkins has revealed that its sales are recovering well buoyed by strong infrastructure and maintenance markets. However, the UK’s largest merchant remains cautious about future prospects for the economy.
Overall, Travis Perkins revenue for the first six months of 2020 was £2,780 million, down 20% on the same period in 2019 (£3,484m) due to the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown.
Since last month’s update, the Merchanting businesses have continued to recover well with the improvement in RMI markets and infrastructure spending proving to be more robust than the new housebuilding and commercial construction markets. Plumbing & Heating markets are also recovering more gradually as projects are predominantly carried out indoors.
Toolstation and Wickes continue to benefit from strong DIY sales delivered through market-leading multi channel capability. Overall, Wickes achieved strong sales growth in June following the re-opening of its stores to customers in late May, with significant growth in core DIY categories more than offsetting the slower recovery in Kitchen & Bathroom installations.
Despite the closure of 165 branches in June, representing around 8% of the Group’s overall outlets, the Group has continued to experience an improving trend on total sales volumes so far in July, with the Group’s total sales run rate now close to last year.
Chief executive, Nick Roberts, said: “Since the trading update on 15 June, the business has continued to recover well with good demand from RMI and infrastructure markets offsetting ongoing challenges in the new build and commercial construction sectors.
“We remain cautious as to the near-term headwinds facing our business and the wider economy, nevertheless the decisive actions we have taken to manage our cost base mean that we are well placed to continue to service our customers, support our colleagues and generate value for our shareholders.”