Wickes owner hikes prices post-Brexit

Builders' merchant and Wickes DIY chain owner Travis Perkins has said it hiked prices to offset soaring costs from the Brexit-hit pound as it posted a 4.5 per cent fall in half-year profits.
A Travis Perkins store. Photo credit: Rui Vieira/PA WireA Travis Perkins store. Photo credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
A Travis Perkins store. Photo credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The group reported pre-tax profits of £168m for the six months to June 30, down from £176m a year earlier.

It said trading volumes were hit by price rises to offset “pronounced” input costs caused by the pound’s slump since the Brexit vote and rising commodity prices.

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But the group said its action helped protect profit margins, although results were weighed down by its struggling plumbing and heating arm, where earnings dived 32 per cent to £13m.

Travis outlined a turnaround plan for the division, including integrating its City Plumbing and CTS branch network to be run under a single management team.

It will also overhaul its ranges, pricing and online offering, while setting up a dedicated supply chain.

Travis chief executive John Carter said the overall group performance was “solid” against a “challenging market backdrop of pronounced input cost inflation and market volatility”.

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He added: “The group made a conscious decision to recover input cost inflation selectively through disciplined pricing activity.

“Whilst this had some impact on trading volume, it enabled us to maintain group gross margins and positions the business well for the future.”

The Wickes and Toolstation consumer division continued to buoy overall results, with underlying earnings up 2.3 per cent at £45m and like-for-like sales 4.7 per cent higher.