Travis says sales growth slowing

Published:  12 October, 2010

NORTHAMPTON: Travis Perkins said growth had slowed in its most recent weeks of trading as it posted a rise in third-quarter sales along with market share gains.

The national merchant said today that its outlook for the year as a whole remained unchanged. The company, which is trying to buy plumbing and heating company BSS Group for about £580m, said turnover at branches in its merchanting division open at least a year increased 10.3%in the three months to 30 September.

"This rate has shown signs of moderating in the most recent few weeks of trading," it said.

At Wickes, like-for-like sales were up 0.6% with relatively weaker trends in big-ticket purchases.

The merchant said third-quarter gross margins were slightly below last year in merchanting and ahead of last year at Wickes. However, it added that the recent response by competitors to the reduction in their market shares has resulted in an erosion of some of this gain at Wickes.

Total group sales for the nine months to 30 September rose 6.0%.

Shares in Travis Perkins closed on Friday at 864p, valuing the business at £1.8bn.

The purchase of BSS will create the biggest plumbing and heating trade and retail distribution business with a market share of 20-25%, overtaking Wolseley. Both companies' shareholders have backed the deal. However, last month the Office of Fair Trading said it had extended the decision date on whether to give the deal the go-ahead to 19 October.

Travis Perkins said in July that it would offset an expected steep fall in public sector newbuild business due to government cuts with growth in other customer groups.

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