You have to doff your cap to home improvement retailer Wickes. To achieve a better-than-expected margin performance during a period of sharply rising input costs is no mean feat.
It is testament to Wickes’ strong supplier relationships and the efficiency of its background processes and digital capability that it has been able to do this without making customers pay through the nose.
“All three of its markets, encompassing local trade, do-it-for-me and DIY, are served by the same product range which makes this task a bit easier,” said AJ Bell’s Russ Mould.
“Sales may have dipped a little year-on-year as the lockdown boom in home improvements made for tough comparative figures to beat, but they are still up an impressive amount on 2019 levels.
“Higher costs and limited availability of raw materials and labour have been an obstacle to people getting all the domestic projects they want done and this could well create an extended period of pent-up demand – to Wickes’ benefit.
“And the same trends to working at home at least some of the time should also be a driver of continuing upgrades to properties.
“The most recent housing figures from Nationwide showed the heart of the property market is still beating strongly and as part of the wider circulatory system Wickes should be well placed to take advantage of this trend.”