Howdens reports successful first half

Howden Joinery Group has reported an increase in UK depot revenues of 9.1% to £518.9 million in the first half of the year, with Continental Europe contributing a further £10m.

Profit before tax rose to £74.8m from £59.2m in the first half of 2015.

The financial performance of the group in the 24 weeks to June 11 was said to have benefited from its competitive position and continuing focus on improving operational performance.

The group has continued to open new depots and increase the number of customer accounts. Ten new depots have opened in the UK so far this year, bringing the total to 629. The business also continued to focus on price discipline and margin.

Chief executive Matthew Ingle said: “The good performance in the first half of the year was in line with our expectations for 2016, with good price progression being seen.

“With the outcome of the referendum last month, there is clearly a heightened degree of uncertainty as to how demand in the rest of the year will pan out. At this stage, we are continuing with our plans. That said, we remain watchful and will quickly take whatever steps are appropriate to the market conditions as we find them.

“The strength of our business model is based on the service proposition that Howdens provides to our small builder customers, and the support of the unique combination of our locally empowered staff and intrinsically low cost depots, and our efficient supply operations. This, when combined with our strong financial position, means that Howdens is well positioned to react to changing circumstances.”

In a statement, the company said that depot revenue increased by 5.2% in the first four-week period of the second half of the year (to July 9). The referendum result has created uncertainty about outlook for the remainder of the year, but there is no evidence of any impact on demand so far.

The group said it is continuing with plans, while remaining “watchful and ready to respond” if weaker exchange rates affect the cost of goods sold.

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