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Wickes sounds note of caution with softening sales and worrying outlook

Home improvement giant Wickes registered strong sales for the first half of 2022, but has reined in its expectations for the second half due to economic uncertainty.

The Northampton-based company had sales growth of 5.5 per cent in the first six months of this year, with progress in its score revenue and ‘Do It For Me’ arm, which offers an end-to-end service on items like kitchen installations.

Wickes outlined that while its local trade was still going strongly, with its total like-for-like sales growth at 0.8 per cent, there were signs of softening DIY and DIFM markets, in part due to the cost of living crisis.

It registered an increase in its customer base when it came to Local Trade sales, up 60,000 to 690,000, though DIY sales remain below the same period last year.

 It said “customers are reacting to the uncertain macroeconomic backdrop”, and as a result, the firm had adjusted its expected profit before tax to be in the range of £72-82m for the second half.

Ongoing supply chain challenges impacted upon its FIFM sales, with Wickes saying it had experienced a slowing of new orders in recent weeks, while customers are hesitant to commit to new big orders. Cancellations remain low.

“It is encouraging to see continued outperformance in our Core market share despite recent signs of softening in the DIY market”, said David Wood, CEO of Wickes.

“Our investment for growth progressed in the period with five store refits completed in the first half which continue to drive strong returns.

“We remain watchful of the macroeconomic backdrop and are managing the business appropriately to navigate these external pressures”.

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Wickes sounds note of caution with softening sales and worrying outlook