Travis Perkins plc expects to meet its financial targets for 2005 after reporting rising sales volumes so far this year, shareholders heard at the company’s annual general meeting.

The group’s builders merchant businesses experienced a 2.4% like-for-like growth in trading per day during the first four months,

Group financial director Paul Hampden Smith said timber and wood product prices increased by about 3-4% but volumes decreased by the same amount.

Travis Perkins chairman Tim Stevenson said trading at Wickes was gradually recovering from a slow start and adverse weather conditions in February and early March. Like-for-like turnover per trading day for the period to April 23 fell by 2.7% compared to the previous year, with core products down by 2.2% and showroom products dipping 5.3%.

Mr Stevenson said: “While trade and construction markets are not completely immune from economic pressures, the majority of our customers in these sectors continue to report reasonable levels of activity and healthy order books, although there are some signs of work being delayed.

“We have not changed our view that the DIY market will recover only slowly and will remain tough for some time.”

He said integration of Wickes into the Group was running ahead of expectations and further opportunities for cost reduction within Wickes had been identified.