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UPDATE 1-UK DIY retailer Wickes nudges up profit guidance after strong trading

(Adds quote, shares)

LONDON, June 1 (Reuters) - Wickes Group, the British do-it-yourself retailer recently spun out of Travis Perkins , said its full-year profit would be in the upper half of analyst expectations after sales surged in April.

“Trading was notably strong through April, driven by sales volumes in both local trade and DIY and continued to be underpinned by our digital capability,” it said on Tuesday.

“Trading in May has settled back in line with expectations.”

The home improvement, or do-it-yourself (DIY), sector has boomed during COVID-19 as Britons have spent more time at home, have had fewer leisure options and have travelled less.

Wickes said its total like-for-like sales in the 21 weeks to 22nd May were 45.7% ahead of the same period a year ago and 23.1% ahead of two years ago.

Chief Executive David Wood said: “Availability constraints and inflationary pressures across some raw materials have been well-flagged, but we have strong supplier relationships and are working closely with them to ensure we continue to provide customers with the products they need at the best possible value.”

Shares in Wickes, which has a market capitalisation of about 650 million pounds, were trading up 3% in early deals.

Wickes said it expected adjusted pretax profit for its first half of about 45 million pounds ($64 million), and the total for the year to be within the top half of the 55 million to 74 million pound range of analyst expectations. ($1 = 0.7028 pounds) (Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Alistair Smout and Kate Holton)

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