Keeping the flag flying.

Travis reports on merchant sales trends

Published:  26 February, 2010

NORTHAMPTON: Merchanting is returning to it traditional base, said Geoff Cooper, chief executive of Travis Perkins.

Speaking earlier this week, he said that demand for home improvement goods had fallen in the weeks after Christmas, a marked change from last year's sales patterns.

Mr Cooper said: "There has been a shift in mood. It's almost as if people focused on Christmas in 2009 and spent, and then woke up with a bit of a hangover and a big credit card bill and a few worries about what this year's going to bring."

But builders have started to emerge in recent weeks and resumed buying cement, timber, and bricks for work on new developments. The trend for 'improving rather than moving' that dominated the housing market downturn is over, Mr Cooper said.

"We are happy with the way housing divisions are going, but not so with retail sales; people are hunkering down," he said.

Regionally, Travis Perkins' sales were worst overall in the Midlands and in a few parts of the North East. London was the only area to undergo significant growth for the whole of 2009.

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