Howden Joinery announced plans to expand in Ireland after reporting record first-half profit fuelled by households revamping their homes during the pandemic.
Pretax profit for the 24 weeks to 12 June was £119.2m compared with a £14.2m loss a year earlier and profit of £78.1m two years ago. Group revenue rose 69% to £784.9m from a year earlier and 20% from 2019.
The FTSE 250 group announced an interim dividend of 4.3p a share, up 10.2% from two years earlier, and restarted its £50m buyback. There was no interim dividend in 2020.
Howden shares rose 2% to a record 896.6p at 08:50 BST.
The kitchen company said trade was boosted by a build-up of demand during the pandemic and people spending more money on their homes. The UK is also in the middle of a property market frenzy fuelled by a temporary stamp duty cut and households reassessing their property needs without a daily commute.
Howden has 754 depots in the UK and said it could expand to have at least 900 in the UK including 20-25 in Northern Ireland. The company also plans to open about five depots around Dublin in the first quarter of 2022 to test demand in the Republic of Ireland.
Andrew Livingston, Howden’s chief executive, said: “Howdens delivered a very strong performance in the first half of 2021, with sales and profit before tax at record levels for the period. This robust performance demonstrates the strength of our trade only, in-stock, local business model and the benefit of pent-up demand as people choose to spend more on their homes.”