scramble for DIY home insulation products has helped Wickes reach record sales as Brits rush to improve their home’s efficiency in a bid to cut down on steep energy bills.
The Northampton-based firm said it saw an 85% rise in home insulation products compared to pre-pandemic norms as it reaffirmed its profits forecast despite warning of a softening of demand in the DIY market.
Wickes CEO David Wood told the Standard: “The key change we’re seeing…is this shift in volume growth in energy-efficient products – whether that be insulation, draft excluder, or LED light bulbs.
“We have the oldest and most inefficient housing stock in Europe. The penny’s dropped now with [DIY] customers that they need to think and behave differently around those projects.”
The firm posted revenues of £822 million in the first six months to July 2022, up 1.3% on the previous year, but operating profit shrunk 9% to £56.3 million as the business absorbed cost inflation in raw materials like timber and cement.
Wood said the firm’s female customer base had grown 20% on pre-pandemic levels, while women now represented 70% of the company’s audience on its Instagram page.
Wickes shares soared 10.6% to 128p in early trading.
Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor, said: “While the first half has been challenging and the DIY boom of the pandemic must be starting to feel like a distant memory, Wickes has clearly continued to make good progress and many of the home improvement enthusiasts who turned to DIY during the pandemic are still tinkering at home.”
“DIY volumes are down but the attractiveness of Wickes offer means it is still taking market share. Despite this, there are some serious concerns. Inflation is running at 40-year highs, so it’s easy to see why some of their customers might stop prioritising redoing a living room.”