The first quarter trading update from Travis Perkins indicates that DIY-ers may have been reluctant to put their overalls on this winter but the construction industry continued working.
The merchanting divisions (general merchanting, plumbing & heating and contracts) delivered total sales growth of 4.2% and like-for-like sales growth of 5.4%.
There was an especially strong performance from the revived plumbing & heating business, where sales grew nearly 20%.
Like-for-like sales in the consumer division reduced by 4.6%, reflecting the poor weather conditions. In the consumer division, the Wickes stores suffered from a declining DIY market, reflecting weak consumer sentiment.
Chief executive John Carter said: “We delivered solid like-for-like sales growth in the first quarter, with volumes across the group broadly flat and pricing initiatives to recover on-going commodity driven price inflation. The turnaround in the plumbing & heating division continues to build momentum as our improvements take effect.
“Adverse weather conditions have impacted sales across the group in February and March, but our overall expectations for 2018 remain unchanged and are supported by our actions to reduce costs. Whilst the mixed trading conditions in our markets are expected to continue in the near-term, we remain confident in the longer term outlook for the building materials market, with opportunities to grow and outperform through the investments we are making to develop or extend our strong customer propositions.”