Wickes has revealed that like-for-like sales for the first 20 weeks of the year were down 0.6% against the prior year, with year-to-date trading in line with expectations against “strong” prior year comparatives.
Core like-for-like sales were down by 7.2%, though delivered DIFM sales were up by 30.9% over the period ended 20 May 2022.
Wickes noted that on a three-year basis, total group sales were 22.4% ahead, however, compared with pre-Covid trading.
It added that core sales reflected “continued buoyant demand” in Local Trade, with trade customer order books remaining at record levels.
Meanwhile, participation in its TradePro scheme reportedly remained strong, and the retailer has added over 40,000 customers in the year to date.
In addition, its DIFM delivered sales growth was said to be “excellent”, in part due to the successful conversion of an elevated pipeline of orders at year end and a strong Winter sale. Installation lead times returned closer to “more normal” levels, and the group said it continues to expect delivered sales for the full year to be ahead of 2019.
It also noted that it has felt the effect of inflation during the period, though said it is “managing this responsibly” while maintaining a “leading price position”.
CEO David Wood said: “I am delighted to report continued momentum, and a promising start to the year where we continue to take market share. This performance is testament to the strength of our uniquely balanced business – across Trade, DIY and DIFM – and it has been achieved against strong prior year comparatives. I am particularly proud of our long-term performance, with sales remaining significantly ahead of pre-lockdown levels.
“Our focus remains on providing our customers with the products and services they need at great value. Our commitment to exceptional value has proven particularly effective amongst our local trade customer base, who continue to turn to us at a time when their own order books are at record levels.”
He added: “Our growth levers are delivering strong returns and we are excited about our plans to optimise our store estate with refits and new stores. Looking ahead, while we remain mindful of the uncertain macroeconomic environment, we continue to be confident of the opportunities available to Wickes within the large and growing home improvement market.”