WICKES owner Travis Perkins today reported a fall in profits and warned there was "no clear indication" of when its markets might return to growth.
Pre-tax profits slipped 11.1% to £180 million in 2009, but Travis Perkins said it coped well in the recession as activity in the builders’ merchant market fell 30% from its peak in late 2008 to its low point in mid 2009.
The decline in retail was softer - around 15% until the first quarter of 2009 - as low interest rates and other stimulus measures boosted consumer demand.
Travis, which has 1,200 branches under brands including Wickes, Tile Giant and Keyline, said its markets had since stabilised but that conditions were still blighted by short-term volatility, intense competition and business failures.
It added: "At this stage there is no clear indication of when our markets might return to growth again.
"Although we believe this might be evident by the end of 2010, we are also wary of the probable false starts that we expect to see."