Travis Perkins plc has reported worsening market conditions in its regular trading update.

The company said like-for-like turnover per trading day in its general merchanting business fell by 0.4% in the four months to October, with specialist merchanting operations seeing a 0.9% reverse and core retailing down by 9%.

Its merchanting business has seen a slowdown in activity from mid-October and monthly customer confidence surveys have recorded a “marked deterioration in anticipated workloads and order books”.

The company said: “Accordingly, we expect trading conditions in merchanting to worsen more than usual through the winter period, with the prospect of an extended shutdown in the building sector over the holiday season.”

But it said selective pricing tactics and an improved offer to trade customers has helped turnover and profit.

The company, which has continued to reduce staffing levels and improve merchanting productivity, expects to record at least £205m profits before tax in the year to December 31, 2005.