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Travis Perkins says markets still subdued

City A.M. Reporter
builders’ and home improvements supplier Travis Perkins reckons its markets have stabilised but is not expecting them to start growing again until, at best, the end of 2010, its chief executive said.

“We’re at the bottom and we’re going to burble along it and there’ll be some weeks and months when we’re up and some weeks and months when we’re down,” Geoff Cooper said in an interview after the firm published results for 2009.

He added: “Our view is that’s probably going to be the pattern for most of 2010.”

Travis Perkins posted an 11 per cent fall in full-year profit to £180m, as revenue fell eight per cent to £2.9bn.

The firm described trading conditions in 2009 as “the most difficult in the group’s history”.
With UK consumer confidence appearing to have taken a knock coming into 2010 he is more concerned about the outlook for the firm’s Wickes retail business than prospects for the eponymous builders merchants business.

“It’s almost as if people focused on Christmas in 2009 and spent and then woke up with a bit of a hangover and a big credit card bill and a few worries about what this year’s going to bring,” he said.

The build-up to a general election that must be held by June was also creating uncertainty for British consumers.

“People are a bit worried about extending their financial commitments, people are just being a bit cautious,” he said.

Despite tough markets he expects Travis Perkins to gain some market share in 2010.