Howdens make encouraging start to the year

Kitchen, joinery and bedroom furniture supplier Howdens has reported a positive start to 2024 with sales showing growth.

According to its latest trading update for the 16 weeks to 14 April 2024, UK depot revenue in the period was +5.4% ahead of the prior year and +4.0% ahead on a same depot basis.

As a result of the additional 53rd week in 2023, there was an earlier start to FY2024 with depots trading in the first week of the current year when they were closed in the prior year. This ‘phasing’ impact corrects itself at the end of FY2024. Adjusting for this, UK depot revenue was +1.9% ahead of the prior year and +0.5% ahead on a same depot basis.

Revenue in the international depots (c.3% of Group revenue) in the period was +4.6% ahead of the prior year and -0.1% lower on a same depot basis. Adjusting for the phasing impact noted above, performance was +2.2% ahead and -2.5% lower on a same depot basis.

“At the start of the new financial year, we have implemented modest price increases across all geographies, that are being retained at acceptable levels as we continue to maintain the right balance between margin and volume, in line with ongoing market conditions,” Howdens said.

Furthermore, in 2024, the business plans to open around 30 new depots in the UK, around 5-10 new international depots, and refurbish around 85 older UK depots. To date, six new UK depots have been opened, with one new international depot in the Republic of Ireland. It has refurbished 10 older depots in the UK in the period.

In terms of products, Howdens added: “New product introductions for 2024 include nine new kitchen ranges. Our new fitted bedroom ranges have been on sale in all our depots since the start of the year and our paint to order and solid worksurface ranges are generating encouraging attachment rates to kitchen sales.”

Howdens added that digital investments continue to support its customers and it is rolling out an enhanced ‘click and collect’ service in the UK depot network.

Commenting on Howdens’ current trading Andrew Livingston, Chief Executive said: “We have made an encouraging start to the year with trading in line with our expectations. We are also continuing to make good progress in implementing our strategic initiatives which drive profitable growth. We are on track with the outlook for 2024, while mindful of the second half weighting of sales from our Autumn peak trading period.”

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