Travis Perkins revenues tumble by two-thirds in April

Building supplies group Travis Perkins said revenues have tumbled by two-thirds in the first three weeks of April despite keeping sites operating during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said the “vast majority” of its Wickes and ToolStation sites have remained open, but the company has been running on a “service-light” model focused on serving customers without contact.

It updated shareholders on its performance in recent weeks as it revealed that like-for-like sales in the first three months of 2020 slipped by 3.8%.

The group said it delivered a “good” performance in the first two-and-a-half months of the year but was then “significantly impacted” by the pandemic and following lockdown measures.

Growth during the period was driven by its fast-growing tool rental business ToolStation, which saw total sales jump 31.3% on the back of new openings.

Chief executive Nick Roberts said: “In light of the Covid-19 emergency, we have established a new operating model that has kept colleagues and customers safe, operating within government guidelines, and enabling branches across all of the group’s businesses to remain open.

“Moreover, we have provided essential services and support to keep the nation’s critical infrastructure maintained and operational and the UK’s homes warm, dry and safe during this time of need.

“We continue to adapt our operations, applying stringent social distancing and using technology to enable contactless operations, and we are therefore able to respond to the Government’s call to ensure that the construction industry can continue to deliver on crucial programmes and projects and be an engine for future economic recovery.”

Last month, Travis Perkins put its plans to spin off its Wickes retail business in a stock market float on hold due to the impact of the virus.

Robert Eason, co-head of equities, capital markets, at Goodbody, said: “Travis Perkins’ first-quarter trading update shows that the builders merchant is one of the winners in spite of Covid-19.

“Given a greater amount of time spent indoors and the boom in DIY prompted by the UK lockdown, the group has been working to increase activity and since April 20 and has been opening more merchanting branches with a third of the network open through the lockdown.”

Shares in the company were up 2.4% to 1,044.5p in early trading on Tuesday.