Howdens posts robust performance since half year

Kitchen and joinery supplier Howdens has reported a “robust performance” as sales decline slightly since its half year.

According to its latest trading update the period ended 28 October 2023, reported sales were 2% lower than 2022 and 42.5% ahead of 2019, with the underlying performance consistent with Howdens’ record sales in the prior year.

“Strong sales in the final few days of the period which included a higher proportion of ‘made-to-order’ products (e.g. Howdens work surfaces, paint-to-order) where lead times are longer. These will be recognised in subsequent periods,” Howdens said.

“Sales in the international depots (c.3% of Group revenue) during Periods 6 to 11 were 5.7% ahead of the prior year despite challenging market conditions. We have disclosed Periods 6 to 11 as it is a more meaningful representation of our performance due to the previously announced de-risking of our French peak trading period over two trading periods this year (Periods 6 and 7) rather than Period 7 only. This approach to peak trading is now consistent with the UK.

“Given the Group’s continued resilient trading, the Board maintains its full year expectations for 2023, but recognising a more uncertain macro-economic outlook this is expected to be towards the lower end of the range of analysts’ consensus forecasts.”

Howdens said that 2023 Full Year Profit Before Tax (PBT) consensus published on the Company’s website is an average of £346m with a range of £330m to £365m.

“Our differentiated business model and well-established strategy continues to serve us well through the macro-economic cycle,” Howdens added. “We continue to invest for future growth with the opening of up to 33 new UK depots, revamping around 90 older UK depots and around 10 new international depots by the end of the year.

“New product introductions for 2023 included 25 new kitchen ranges. Benefits have been realised from continued supply chain enhancements including the full availability of our XDC cross-docking facility. Investments have also been made to expand our manufacturing capabilities.”

Andrew Livingston, Chief Executive said: “Howdens has continued to trade well since the half year and has gained market share. UK depot sales during our peak trading period remained consistent with last year’s record performance.

“This was a significant achievement by our teams given the macro-economic headwinds and demonstrates the value of our culture and a differentiated business model. Our balance sheet and cash generation remain strong and we continue to invest in our strategic initiatives to develop the operating model, which strengthens our competitive advantage.”

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