Travis Perkins has made further steps towards dropping its DIY chain Wickes, and could offload it by the middle of next year.

This is according to the Sunday Times, which reported that Travis Perkins has already begun separating Wickes’ IT systems from the ones used by the rest of the Group.

The Sunday Times report also said that Numis analyst Howard Seymour estimated Wickes would generate sales of £1.3 billion this year, and he believes it is worth between £400 million and £500 million.

Travis Perkins had announced last December that it was reviewing the chain to try to “maximise value”, as its operating profits fell by almost a third to £69 million in the last two years.

However, in May this year, Wickes reported good recovery, with 10.5% like-for-like sales growth.

Last week, former Tesco Executive David Wood replaced Simon King as Wickes Chief Executive.

Travis Perkins has also been preparing to sell its plumbing and heating division by Q2 2019, in order to “focus on delivering best-in-class service to our trade customers, and to simplify the Group to reduce complexity, speed up decision making, and reduce costs”, according to CEO John Carter.

Despite Brexit-related uncertain market conditions, the Group reported a positive start to 2019, with like-for-like sales growth of 7.3% and total sales growth of 5.4%.