Shares in DIY and trade retailer Wickes have fallen more than 20% in early trading after the company issued a warning that it had seen “signs of softening” in its key markets in recent weeks as its customers become more “price conscious”.
Core sales, including DIY and local trade, were minus 0.2% for the second quarter up from an 11% downturn in the first quarter, as financial figures returned to normal following the pandemic boost and then the lull in DIY sales with the cessation of lockdowns.
Group sales including the addition of home improvements, such as the fitting of kitchens and bathrooms, rose from minus 4% in first quarter sales to a boost of 5.4% in second quarter sales.
Overall, for the first half of the year, group sales were up 0.8%.
The company said it had continued to manage supply chain inflation “responsibly” by passing through cash cost increases while maintaining its “leading price position”, but that recent trading suggested customers were “reacting to the uncertain macroeconomic backdrop”.
David Wood, CEO of Wickes, said: “We remain watchful of the macroeconomic backdrop and are managing the business appropriately to navigate these external pressures.”
“Wickes has delivered another strong performance, as the business continues to provide the best value, choice and availability for customers.
“It is encouraging to see continued outperformance in our core market share despite recent signs of softening in the DIY market.”
Wickes said that it expected its full year profit before tax to be in the region of £72 to £82 million.