Wesfarmers, parent group of Bunnings which acquired DIY chain Homebase last year, has announced first-quarter sales down 13.8% to £276m thought the UK and Ireland.
Like-for-like-sales declined 11.9%.
The Australian conglomerate, headquartered in Perth, has attributed the downside in sales to “difficult trading conditions” as the company embarked on a three-month clearance of stock at its 200+ Homebase premises.
Discussing the sales slide, Bunnings group MD Michael Schneider said: “While the performance of Homebase is disappointing, we continue to be encouraged by the performance of the Bunnings pilots.
“The UK and Ireland team remains focused on stabilising the performance of the Homebase stores as well as delivering proof of concept for the Bunnings format.”
The group has launched a small selection of Bunnings Warehouse stores, starting with a pilot store in St Albans back in February, and are planning on a further 20 to be completed by the end of the year.
Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder admitted that the investment in Homebase and commercial strategy would “take longer than expected”.
“We still consider the opportunity is a good one,” said Goyder.
The Bunnings group made a loss of £54m in its first full year in the UK.