Travis Perkins posts pre-tax loss after year of unprecedented challenges2 March 2021
National merchanting group Travis Perkins (TP) has posted a group pre-tax loss of £7.7m (2019: £180.8m pre-tax profit) for the year ending December 31, 2020 after facing a year of unprecedented challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
TP cut 2,500 jobs - equivalent to 9% of its workforce – in 2020 and closed 190 group branches to reduce costs amid the pandemic.
But despite the challenges, group CEO Nick Roberts says the company is well-placed for the future, with its Wickes business demonstrating a highly effective digitally-led business model during the pandemic.
The group’s restructuring in 2020 cost £121m.
“Whilst uncertainty remains, we have seen a good recovery through the second half which gives us confidence that the fundamental drivers in our markets are robust,” said Mr Roberts.
“The continuing progress against our strategic plans leaves the Group well placed to outperform in those markets.”
The core TP merchanting division saw total revenue reduce by 17.2% to £3.065bn in 2020 and adjusted operating profit drop 46.5% to £152m (2019: £284m). Branches progressively re-opened from late April, 2020 onwards although the disruption to the supply chain caused by the lockdown was significant and took several months to unwind.
The second half recovery was “very encouraging” though, led by domestic RMI demand. Housebuilding and commercial construction were slower to recover with volumes still down by between 10% and 15% during Q4, 2020.
Some 140 merchanting division branches, mainly smaller subscale sites, closed leading to £90m of annualised cost savings. Over time as demand rebuilds, TP will establish larger branches that offer a greater depth and range of stock, alongside more efficient warehousing and delivery operations.
In the Wickes retail business, continued strong performance has led the TP Board to recommence the demerger process of Wickes from the TP Group with a view to completion in Q2 2021.
TP has also decided to repay all government support received for the Wickes and Toolstation businesses, totalling £46m.
The retail division saw total revenue up by 3.6% to £1.391bn and adjusted operating profit down by 20.6% to £77m (2019: £97m). Measures to make customers and staff Covid-19 safe cost £9m.
Wickes’ 2020 like-for-like sales were up 5.5%, driven by the strength of the core DIY segment which saw like for like growth of 19.3%, a trend which has continued into 2021.
Showroom closures have had a marked impact on kitchen & bathroom sales, down 27.4%. Web-based leads remain strong and indicate a level of pent-up demand once restrictions are eased.
Toolstation total revenue was up 42.1% to £633m (2019: £445m), adjusted operating profit down to £8m (2019: £25m), with branch network expanding by 60 branches during 2020.