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Home improvement retailer Wickes upbeat on outlook as profit jumps

By Reuters

LONDON – British home improvement retailer Wickes on Friday reported a 72% jump in annual profit and forecast further progress in 2022, sending its shares higher.

Home improvement retailers have performed well during the COVID-19 pandemic as more people turned to DIY (do it yourself) during the crisis as they spent more time at home, had fewer leisure options and travelled less.

Bigger rival Kingfisher on Tuesday reported record revenue and profit for 2021-22.

Wickes, which demerged from Travis Perkins last April, made adjusted pretax profit of 85 million pounds ($112.2 million) in the year to Jan. 1, in line with guidance of no less than 83 million pounds and up from 49.5 million pounds in the previous year.

Revenue rose 14% to 1.53 billion pounds as it won market share in its core local trade business.

Core sales were down 6.7% year on year in the first 11 weeks of 2022, reflecting strong 2021 comparative numbers, but up 26.3% on a two-year basis.

It said there was buoyant demand from local trade, with trade customer order books at record levels, and that its do-it-for-me (DIFM) business, where Wickes provides building services, had also made a positive start to 2022.

Wickes shares were up 7.5% in early trading.

CEO David Wood said Wickes was well-placed to capitalise on continuing demand for home improvement, buoyed by ageing housing stock, favourable consumer trends and an increasing focus on insulating and fitting new systems designed for high energy efficiency.

“While we recognise the pressure that consumers will be facing in 2022, we have the right model, a strong pipeline and order book and remain confident of making further progress in the current year,” Wood said.

($1 = 0.7575 pounds)