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Travis Perkins posts sales rise despite weather chill

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Builders’ merchant and Wickes DIY chain owner Travis Perkins shrugged off the extreme weather to post a solid set of first-quarter results.

The group reported a 3% rise in like-for-like sales in the period, with total sales increasing 2.4%.

Travis said the Beast from the East affected sales in February and March, but the firm’s overall expectations for 2018 remain unchanged.

Results were driven by sales at its plumbing and heating arm, which grew 15.1%.

But general merchanting sales dipped 1.9%, which Travis said reflected “current weakness in the UK DIY market” and weak consumer sentiment.

Travis Perkins chief executive John Carter (Craig Fraser/Travis Perkins/PA)

Boss John Carter said: “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.”

Travis pledged to take more costs out of the business and improve efficiency, while pointing to “mixed” market indicators, such as mortgage approvals, housing transactions and property prices.

The group has previously said that sales growth has been helped by inflation-driven price increases after the pound’s slump following the Brexit vote saw costs rocket.