* Trading in line with expectations
* Total sales up 1.6 percent
* Like-for-like sales down 1.8 percent
* Specialist merchanting division benefited from competitor’s closure
LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - A downward trend in like-for-like sales at British builders’ merchant Travis Perkins continued in November, as weak construction and consumer markets weighed on business.
Like-for-like sales for the year-to-date slipped 1.8 percent. Total sales, which includes the acquisition of Toolstation last January, fared better, rising 1.6 percent for the eleven months to end-November.
The firm also said its specialist merchanting division felt a small positive impact from the closure of a competitor.
Both the construction and retail sectors in Britain have suffered in the economic downturn, but Travis Perkins said trading was in line with expectations and that it was on track to meet consensus earnings per share for the year.
“Despite the evident weakness in UK construction and poor consumer confidence, Travis Perkins is performing reasonably well,” said Seymour Pierce analysts.
Travis Perkins, which operates a home improvement business as well as distributing building materials, also trades as City Plumbing, Keyline, Tile Giant, Wickes and BSS.
The company’s shares gained 0.18 percent to 1,095 pence on Wednesday at 0846 GMT, in line with the FTSE midcap index .