Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Better Than Expected for Builders' Merchant

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Better Than Expected for Builders' Merchant

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter McCusker

BUILDERS' merchant Travis Perkins revealed a jump in annual profits but admitted activity in its core market remained 20% below its 2008 peak.

The group - with a network of more than 600 branches - said it expected the merchanting sector to continue its gradual recovery this year, while conditions facing its Wickes DIY business were likely to remain soft. Reporting underlying profits of pounds 216.7m for 2010, an increase of 20% on a year earlier, Travis said it had also made a positive start to 2011.

Like-for-like sales in January were up by 22% in merchanting, 12% in retail and by 8% at the BSS plumbing supplies business it acquired last year. Sales trends in February have weakened but remain in positive territor y. The Northampton-based company added: "Despite starting the year well we expect conditions for the next 12 months to remain difficult.

The merchanting market fell by over 30% from 2008 and although activity has picked up a little, from a longer-term perspective, activity levels are currently around 20% below their peak. …

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