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Wickes customers "taking longer to commit" as sales down but stable

3rd Nov 2023 08:37

(Alliance News) - Wickes Group PLC on Friday said it performed well in the third quarter amid a tough market, although core sales growth decreased and more customers avoided make large purchases.

The Watford, England-based home improvement retailer said core sales delivered 1.1% like-for-like volume growth in the third quarter of 2023, down from 2.2% in the second quarter. In the first nine months of 2023, total sales showed 0.4% growth but core sales declined 0.2%.

DIFM or delivered sales were down 4.4% in the quarter, compared with 5.3% growth in the second quarter and 6.2% in the first. In the year to date they showed 2.5% growth.

Wickes said its order book was "more normalised" in the third quarter compared to the first half year, and that its transition to a new software solution for fulfilling orders caused "some delays" to DIFM sales. The company said it is working to resolve these issues, but that some fourth-quarter DIFM sales will nonetheless be delayed into 2024.

"DIFM orders were down modestly in the third quarter, with some pressure on conversion rates, particularly in September, as customers are taking longer to commit to big ticket purchases," Wickes added.

Chief Executive David Wood said Wickes "delivered a solid performance in a challenging market as we continue to deliver against our strategic growth drivers.

"In our core business we have gained further market share and achieved a return to volume growth. We have fulfilled strong demand from our trade customers and been encouraged by greater stability in DIY."

Wickes also has opened three new stores so far in the second half year, and said it remains confident in the pipeline for new stores next year.

The company further commented that thanks to trading up to October 31, it remains comfortable with current market consensus for the full year, anticipating GBP45.3 million to GBP49.0 million adjusted pretax profit.

"As we continue to rollout our programme of store openings and refits," Wood said, "I am confident that we have the right product offer and the most attractive locations - enabling us to deliver value for customers and shareholders."

Shares in Wickes rose 1.9% to 134.00 pence each in London early on Friday.

By Emma Curzon, Alliance News reporter

Comments and questions to [email protected]

Copyright 2023 Alliance News Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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