- Builders' merchant Travis Perkins said its sales slipped in the first quarter after trading was hurt late in March by the imposition of Covid-19 lockdown measures.

Sales for the three months through March fell 4.6%, or by 3.8% on a like-for-like basis.

Travis Perkins reiterated that it had withdrawn its annual profit guidance and made no comment about its dividend outlook.

The company said that in the first three weeks of April, its revenue was about one-third of the same period in 2019 on a comparable basis.

Since 20 April, it had opening more of its merchant branch network, giving it greater scope to serve companies that are restarting construction sites.

Around half of Travis Perkins' 30,000 employees had been furloughed. 'Colleagues have been furloughed on full pay, with leadership teams and remaining colleagues working hard to sustain high levels of communication to maintain team cohesion and morale,' it added.

Directors and company leaders had taken a 20% pay cut effective 1 May for three months.

'Overall, the combination of current trading levels and the mitigations taken to control the overhead cost base means that for the first month of lockdown the group experienced an overhead cash outflow of around £50m,' Travis Perkins said.

'With more merchanting branches beginning to open with a corresponding increase in sales volume and the continued progression of trading in the Wickes and Toolstation businesses, the group expects this cash outflow to reduce over the coming weeks.'

Travis Perkins said it had 'a strong liquidity headroom position with a robust balance sheet'.

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