But firm warns consumers confidence remains fragile
Builders merchant Travis Perkins saw sales grow in the third quarter despite market volatility it is encountering.
In a trading update for the three months to the end of September, total sales increased 3.5% with like-for-like growth of 4.1%, benefitting from a “weak comparable” in 2016.
The combined merchanting division (general merchanting, plumbing & heating and contracts) saw sales rise 2.9% from the same period last year.
Growth in the firm’s consumer division slowed to 2.4% from 9.1% from the year-ago quarter, which it said was primarily due to more subdued growth in its retail chain Wickes reflecting “very strong comparatives” from Q3 2016 and an “increasingly difficult market environment”.
The firm, which closed 33 branches during the period, said it was cautious about the market outlook with chief executive John Carter warning: ”Trading conditions in our markets continue to be mixed, with consumer discretionary spending under pressure from rising inflation and ongoing uncertainty in the UK economy.”
But he added: “We maintain our confidence in the long-term fundamental drivers of our markets and this underpins our plan to invest in our business to improve our customer propositions and extend our competitive advantage.
In August, the firm said revenue in the six months to June had increased 3.5% to £3.22bn but profit before tax slipped 4.9% to £175m.