Geoff Cooper: taking market share in a tough environment.

Travis numbers look good

Published:  13 October, 2011

NORTHAMPTON: Travis Perkins reported strong sales at its heating and plumbing business BSS, which offset weakness at its Wickes DIY chain. 

Across Travis Perkins' businesses, like-for-like sales rose by 5.9% over the nine months to September. 

The company said sales growth at its merchanting business and at its plumbing and heating unit BSS offset a particularly challenging period for Wickes.

Travis Perkins said third quarter turnover at builders' merchant depots open more than a year increased 7.7% while turnover was up 2.6% at BSS.

Chief executive Geoff Cooper said: "We continue to take market share against a tough market backdrop, confirming the sustainable strength of our organic growth strategy.

"Our positive merchanting and BSS performance is balancing the effect of a challenging consumer environment for our retail business."

Wickes, the 200-store DIY chain, saw same store sales drop by 2% in the three months to October. Kitchen and bathroom sales were down by 12.4% over the last nine months.

Shares in Travis Perkins had lost 22% of their value over the last six months before the latest results were published.

However, they rose 8% after the market update yesterday as analysts saw the performance as resilient. 

Analysts said the numbers looked good compared with recent updates from Wolseley, B&Q and Homebase.

"Travis Perkins' update highlights once again the group's quality.  A feature in recent times has been market share gains and this continued in Q3," said analyst Flor O'Donoghue at brokerage Davy.

Travis Perkins also trades as Keyline, CCF, City Plumbing and Benchmarx, competing with groups such as Wolseley, and owns Tile Giant and Wickes, competing with the likes of Kingfisher's B&Q and Home Retail's Homebase. Last year it bought plumbing and heating group BSS for £800m.

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