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Ahead of demerger UK's Wickes forecasts market-beating growth

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Signage is pictured at Travis Perkins, a timber and building merchants yard in St Albans

(Fixes typo in lede)

LONDON (Reuters) - British home improvement retailer Wickes, which is being demerged from building materials group Travis Perkins, on Wednesday forecast full year sales growth ahead of its markets.

The home improvement, or do-it-yourself (DIY), sector has performed well during the COVID-19 pandemic as Britons have spent more time at home, have had fewer leisure options and have travelled less.

On Monday B&Q owner Kingfisher reported a 44% jump in full year profit.

Wickes said trends seen in the second half of 2020 had continued into the current financial year, with strong sales of core products.

However, do-it-for-me (DIFM) orders were about 50% lower year-on-year through the key winter sale period, as showrooms remained closed.

"Core growth is expected to moderate against tougher comparatives through the year and management is confident in a recovery of DIFM sales with pent up demand, evidenced through a high level of enquiries, likely to come through as lockdown restrictions ease," it said.

Wickes' like-for-like revenue growth was 19.3% in 2020.

The update on current trading was published after Travis Perkins said the circular and prospectus in relation to the demerger and listing of Wickes shares had been submitted to the Financial Conduct Authority for approval.

Shares in Travis Perkins, which have doubled over the last year, closed Tuesday at 1,585 pence, valuing the business at 4 billion pounds ($5.5 billion).

($1 = 0.7307 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey, editing by Louise Heavens)