The latest half-year trading results from Wickes' parent company Travis Perkins Plc have revealed Wickes' like-for-like estate has increased its market share from 2011 levels, despite competitors "getting a greater sales benefit" from the closure of Focus DIY
Overall group revenue at Travis Perkins was up 2.7% at £2,412m, but down 0.7% on a LfL basis for the six months ending June 30, 2012. The group said that "exceptional Q2 wet weather conditions impacted heavy-side business."
Overall consumer turnover at Travis Perkins - which also owns Toolstation and Tile Giant - increased by 14.5%, driven by the newly-acquired Toolstation
and the performance of its 13 ex-Focus stores. Like-for-like volumes were down 8.8% however, blamed on "lower consumer confidence and poor weather."
"Price control, better sourcing, improved terms and sales mix net of selectively targeted investment in pricing in some product areas" was credited for the group's improved consumer gross margins, up 1.6%. This was before the impact of the lower gross margin Toolstation business, which the group said reduces the divisional gross margin by 0.5%.
The group added: "Good cost control has been exercised by the consumer division team during 2012. The ratio of overheads to sales has remained flat despite lower like-for-like revenue and a high proportion of fixed costs.
"Staff costs have benefited from the simplification of the Wickes' store team structures undertaken in the second half of last year. Also, steps have been taken to alleviate the rent burden through reducing the footprint of some of our larger less profitable Wickes locations by sub letting part of them to other retail organisations; we have also relocated a number of stores to smaller sites. Both of these programmes will continue to be an area of focus.
"Toolstation has performed strongly and profits continue to grow. Year-on-year total sales are up 35.8%, with like-for-like sales growing strongly. We have continued to invest in the business opening a further 11 stores in the first half taking the total up to 114 at 30 June."