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Wickes’ profits at top of forecasts amid strong trade demand

Wickes’ core trade and DIY business saw like-for-like sales rise 0.1% for the year (Wickes/PA)
Wickes’ core trade and DIY business saw like-for-like sales rise 0.1% for the year (Wickes/PA)

Wickes has said it expects profits for the past year to have been at the top end of forecasts, after improved trade demand in the latest quarter.

Shares in the DIY and building supplies firm moved higher on Friday as a result.

Chief executive David Wood hailed a “robust performance” over the year despite an overall decline in sales.

Wickes, which has 229 stores, told shareholders that like-for-like sales dropped by 0.3% in 2023 as it was affected by weaker consumer demand for larger projects and IT disruption.

The group’s Do It For Me business, which links customers with potential traders, performed particularly weakly over the second half of the year.

Do It For Me sales were down 1.7% for 2023, with a sharp decline of 13.7% over the final quarter of the year.

This slump in sales “reflected a more subdued consumer environment for larger projects, as well as delivery delays from the new software implementation”, the company said.

However, Wickes’ core trade and DIY business saw like-for-like sales rise 0.1% for the year.

It said these sales grew 1.2% in the latest quarter as strong volumes helped to offset the impact of price deflation.

Trade sales were particularly strong during the year it added, with double digit growth through its TradePro membership.

Mr Wood said: “Our colleagues’ relentless focus on value, availability and service has delivered record customer satisfaction and market share.

“We have delivered a robust sales performance in the year, against a challenging market backdrop, and with a tight control on costs we expect to achieve a full year profit outturn at the upper end of market expectations.

“We remain confident in our growth levers and in 2023 we have invested further in new stores, refits and our digital capability.

“This leaves us well placed to continue to outperform the market in 2024 and beyond.”

Investec analyst Kate Calvert said: “Fourth quarter trading showed that investing through the cycle in new stores, refits, digital and service is paying off, with Wickes continuing to take market share.”