Building supplies retailer Travis Perkins has announced strong financial results for the second half of 2018, despite describing trading conditions as \u201cextremely challenging\u201d.\r\n\r\nThe retailer saw its sales for the period rise by 4.8% to \u00a36.74bn, with its pre-tax profits increasing by 1.2% to \u00a3347m. Adjusted opening profit at the company dropped 15.9% down to \u00a369m while sales made a short drop of 0.9% to \u00a31.6bn. The building supplies retailer\u2019s subsidiary Wickes saw its profits impaired by restructuring costs of \u00a3246m.\r\n\r\nJohn Carter, CEO, said: "The group delivered a solid performance overall in 2018 despite a challenging market backdrop. We took concerted self help actions during the year, and the benefits of this cost reduction, together with improved trading, drove an improved profit performance in the second half of the year.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn December 2018, we set out our intention to focus on delivering best-in-class service to trade customers and to simplify the group. To that end, removing the divisional structure within merchanting will enable an increased focus on customers at a business unit level, speed up decision making and, at the same time, reduce costs.\u201d\r\n\r\nHe added: \u201cWhilst we remain positive about the long term outlook for our end markets, we are planning for uncertain market conditions to continue in the near term. The group remains focused on self help actions to underpin performance in the near term, whilst continuing to invest for the future."