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Wickes demerger is back on

2 Mar 21 Builders’ merchant group Travis Perkins has resumed plans to demerge its Wickes retail business and expected to be shot of it by June 2021.

Travis Perkins sunk to a £7.7m pre-tax loss for 2020 (2019: 180.8m profit) as Covid took its toll.

The company has been restructuring, or trying to,  for a couple of years now to focus more on B2B merchanting. Tile Giant and Primaflow F&P were sold last year but the planned demerger of Wickes was put on hold after the UK was put into lockdown at the end of March 2020.

The sales of the plumbing & heating business is also still planned but remains on hold until market conditions improve.

After an encouraging start to 2020, the spring lockdown disrupted both Travis Perkins’ trading and its supply chain. While it recovered well in the second half, led by the domestic repairs, maintenance and improvement (RMI) market, overall revenue in 2020 declined by 11.5% to £6,158m.

As house-bound Britain turned to home improvements, Wickes and Toolstation were among those to reap the benefit.  Wickes’ sales were up 5.5% in 2020 while Toolstation’s UK sales were up 22%.

Including mainland Europe operations, acquired in September 2019, Toolstation turnover was up 42% to £633m with an operating profit of £24m just in the UK but £8m overall.

Chief executive Nick Roberts, said: “We have shown great agility and versatility in adapting our working practices, further digitalising our engagement with customers and reshaping our business to suit the changing demands of our markets.

“The Wickes digitally-led model has proved highly effective during the pandemic and the business is in great shape to embark on its journey as a standalone entity.”

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