Wickes today reports record sales in the first half of its fiscal year as shoppers seek value alongside convenience and quality. During the first half of the year, the DIY and trade equipment retailer reduced click and collect times to 30 minutes to improve convenience for time-pressed business customers and also increased delivery capacity by 10% by improving its in-store order processing space.
Wickes, ranked Top50 in RXUK Top500 research, says perceptions of its value and the strength of its digital offering – including the new faster click and collect service – are reflected in signups for its Trade loyalty program Pro, which has seen around 10,000 new customers sign up each month, bringing the total to over 700,000.
It used its predictive “engagement engagement engine” to focus on improving the digital experience of business customers and driving engagement throughout projects. He used social campaigns and display marketing to increase awareness of the TradePro app.
In the first half, the Wickes eBay store launched with 4,000 lines – one of many channels through which the retailer aims to improve the accessibility of its range to more home improvement customers.
The retailer continues to remodel its stores and plans to open 20 more over the next five years. It also says it will submit its science-based carbon reduction targets by the end of September.
David Wood, Managing Director of Wickes, said: “This was a semester in which we achieved record sales as customers continued to be attracted to our market-leading value, choice and availability, and I would like to thank all my colleagues for their hard work. and support in achieving those results. While market volumes declined, we continued to gain market share and delivered a particularly strong performance in trade, with an acceleration in membership in our TradePro membership program.
Wickes today announces turnover of £822.3 million in the 26 weeks to July 2, 2022. This is 1.3% more than the same period last year. As part of this, sales in its core DIY market fell 5.1% to £632.6m, but sales in the emerging “do it for me” part of its business rose 30,000,000. 6% to £189.7million.
Pre-tax profit was £45.6m, down 1.9% from £46.5m last year, but after £12.1m of costs one-off, mainly related to the separation of IT systems from those of former parent company Travis Perkins, Net profit before tax was £33.5 million. That’s 6.2% less than £35.7m the previous year. The retailer says it continues to expect full-year pre-tax profit, before one-time costs, to be between £72m and £82m.
The state of the home improvement market
Wickes says home improvement remains an attractive market which he values at £26.5billion, at a time when many people continue to work from home and want to improve their surroundings, including making them more energy and general maintenance efficient. . However, he sees demand moderating moderately as price inflation – fueled by rising energy costs and supply chain disruption – continues. In the first half, prices were up around 15%, driven by categories such as wood and cement.
In its latest Mood of the Nation survey, Wickes found that 25% of business respondents had order books for at least 12 months ahead and 56% for at least three months ahead. He says he has seen little sign of price cuts or own-label purchases yet, but says customers are buying more and he is well positioned to benefit. Its “do it for me” (DIFM) backlog has now started to decline, but at the end of the half it was ahead of the same period last year and was around double the levels of ‘before Covid.
Wood says: “In DIY, we continue to meet the needs of an increased number of young customers who first turned to home improvement during the pandemic, while in DIFM, room sales Showroom deliveries remained strong as we launched new kitchen and bathroom ranges and worked through the strong order backlog.
“As previously reported, we have seen some slowdown in the DIY market due to the very high levels of demand experienced during the pandemic. However, we continue to outperform the broader home improvement market and our confidence in our long-term strategy is unchanged, which is reflected in our continued investments to drive growth.
“Looking forward, we remain confident that our unique balanced business model, combined with our value as market leader, positions us well in a large and growing home improvement market.”