Travis Perkins sales slump 20% in first half

Building supplies group Travis Perkins has said that sales dived 20% in the first half of 2020 as it was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The company reported that revenue slumped to £2.78 billion for the six months to June due to the “significant impact” of the virus and resulting lockdown.

Travis Perkins said group like-for-like sales were 34.8% lower in the second quarter, although sales improved towards the end of the period.

Like-for-like sales slipped 6.7% in June – compared with slumps of 63.6% and 34.6% in April and May respectively – as its Toolstation and retail divisions returned to growth.

Its builders’ merchants arm remains the most impacted by the virus, but operations “have continued to recover well” in recent weeks, it said.

Meanwhile, its Toolstation and Wickes brands have benefited from “strong DIY sales” amid surging demand for home improvements during lockdown.

Last month, Travis Perkins announced plans to permanently close 165 of its branches with the loss of around 2,500 jobs.

Chief executive Nick Roberts said: “Since the trading update on June 15, the business has continued to recover well, with good demand from infrastructure markets offsetting ongoing challenges in the new-build and commercial construction sectors.

“We remain cautious as to the near-term headwinds facing our business and the wider economy; nevertheless, the decisive actions we have taken to manage our cost base mean that we are well placed to continue to service our customers, support our colleagues and generate value for our shareholders.”

Shares in the company moved 1.9% higher to 1,225.5p in early trading on Tuesday.