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Perkins sees a boost in its DIY branch

RETAIL group Travis Perkins gave a glimmer of hope to retailers yesterday, as it reported a steady improvement in its DIY arm Wickes.

Perkins, which also owns chains Tile Giant and Toolstation, added that it was seeing positive moods in the builders’ merchant market.

The group said earnings for the full year would be towards the top end of market expectations, but warned that consumer and trade spending pressures meant it was staying cautious on next year’s prospects.

Wicks put out strong market share gains in the nine weeks to the end of November, with like-for-like turnover per day boosted by 10.2 per cent. The figure was 2.3 per cent higher for the first 48 weeks in the company’s financial year.

Meanwhile in its merchanting arm, like-for-like turnover per trading day slumped 14.3 per cent for the 48 weeks, with the decrease improving to -5.5 per cent in the last two months.

Showroom sales were boosted by the demise of competitor MFI, and by an advertising drive.

“The decline in volume relative to peak levels in early 2008 appears to have reached a plateau, but we have yet to see any signs of any sustained improvement,” the company said in its trading statement.