- Like-for-like sales softened 0.6% in first 20 weeks of financial year

- Retailer added over 40,000 customers to TradePro scheme

- DIY specialist faces economic uncertainty and inflationary headwind

Home improvement retailer Wickes (WIX) warned it faces an ‘uncertain macroeconomic environment’ as the garden furniture-to-flat-pack kitchens purveyor reported a 0.6% drop in like-for-like sales for the 20 weeks to 21 May 2022 amid a normalisation in DIY demand post-Covid.

Shares in the DIY products specialist cheapened 0.3% to 192.8p as the cautious outlook overshadowed the news trading is in line with expectations year-to-date, giving management the confidence to reaffirm full-year guidance.

LAPPING TOUGH COMPS

In a short trading update, Wickes reported a 0.6% decline in group like-for-like sales for the first 20 weeks of the financial year as the retailer lapped demanding comparatives.

Like-for-like sales surged 46% higher in the opening 21 weeks of 2021 as the company capitalised on the pandemic-induced DIY boom.

Nevertheless, CEO David Wood stressed his charge has ‘continued momentum’ and has made a ‘promising start to the year where we continue to take market share’.

Significantly, sales at Wickes remain ‘significantly’ ahead of pre-lockdown levels; on a three-year basis, which compares with the pre-Covid period, total group sales were 22.4% ahead in the 20 week period.

Like many businesses, Wickes is having to contend with inflation and insisted it is ‘managing this responsibly while maintaining our leading price position’.

Wickes’ trade customer order books remain at record levels and participation in its TradePro scheme remains ‘strong’, with over 40,000 customers added year-to-date.

UNCERTAIN BACKDROP

‘Our focus remains on providing our customers with the products and services they need at great value,’ added Wood.

‘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.

‘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.’

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Issue Date: 26 May 2022