Wickes sales jump as generation rent and new homeowners turn to DIY

The boss of Wickes has hailed a sales boost driven by a summer of DIY as generation rent have also “turned their hand” to home improvement.

It came as shares in the company nudged higher as sales lifted beyond pre-pandemic levels.

The home improvement retailer said customers have invested more heavily into their homes since the pandemic, but said that it does not expect sales demand to perform a U-turn if the UK property market cools.

David Wood, chief executive officer of the firm, told the PA news agency that the company has seen DIY growth away from recent house-buyers.

He said: “We have seen a really strong increase in the demand from people to make improvements, to give their home a lift.

“People have spent a lot of times in their homes and gardens over the pandemic, assessed how they can change it and then spending money to make these changes.

“It’s not just new homeowners. We are in a good position whatever happens in the housing market, as people want to refresh what they have.

“Generation rent has really turned their hand to DIY recently as well, so it’s obvious there is still plenty of growth here.”

In a trading update on Wednesday, the company said that sales increased by 33.1% for the six months to June 26, compared with the same period last year, with a 22.4% increase against the period in 2019.

The group said its “Do-it-for-me” business, which runs fittings services for customers, was impacted by the enforced closure of kitchen and bathroom showroom until April 12.

However, it said ordered sales since the reopening are 30% higher than the same period in 2019.

The update comes just two months after the retail business demerged from Travis Perkins to float on the London Stock Exchange.

Wickes held firm on its profit guidance for the current financial year but cautioned that it is navigating inflationary pressures and constraints on some raw materials.

Mr Wood said: “We have seen some pressures. One of our most popular items is a bag of cement and that’s something where we have seen prices rise.

“But broadly, we’ve benefited from sourcing a lot of materials and items in the UK, and that’s sheltered us from some supply disruption.”