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Britain's Wickes raises profit guidance on resilient trading

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LONDON (Reuters) -British home improvement retailer Wickes raised its full-year profit guidance on Friday, saying it had continued to trade well in its fourth quarter so far.

The group, which demerged from Travis Perkins in April, forecast full-year 2021 profit before tax of no less than 83 million pounds ($110 million).

Before the update, analysts were forecasting pre-tax profit of 74-75 million pounds.

Bigger rival Kingfisher, which owns the B&Q and Screwfix chains, last month forecast full-year profit towards the higher end of previous guidance, with demand supported by industry trends it believes will endure, including more working from home.

Wickes said delivered sales in the Do It For Me (DIFM) category strengthened, reflecting a strong order book.

It said core sales were lower against tough comparative numbers last year but remained materially ahead versus 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic impacted trading.

Wickes said its margin performance was better than expected and it had mitigated pressures from rising inflation and freight costs.

"Whilst the recent changes to UK Government Covid-related guidance (in response to the new Omicron variant) are unlikely to have a material impact on performance over the balance of the year, the trading environment continues to remain uncertain and we will monitor the situation closely," it said.

Shares in Wickes closed at 215 pence on Thursday, valuing it at 557 million pounds.

($1 = 0.7531 pounds)

(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kate Holton and Alexander Smith)

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