DIY and home improvement business Wickes has said customers are continuing to flock to stores although not at the same levels as at the height of the pandemic a year ago.

Bosses said that, as a result of strong trading, profits will now be ahead of expectations and no less than £83 million on an underlying pre-tax basis.

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 Wickes has said profits are set to beat expectations (Barry Batchelor/PA)

The company said it has managed to avoid getting caught up in the supply chain issues facing the industry but warned that recent changes in Covid restrictions means predicting future trading remains challenging.

Sales are lower compared with a year ago, but on a two-year basis – before the pandemic – they remain significantly ahead so far in the final three months of the year.

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Chief executive David Wood said: “This has been a period of further progress for Wickes, where our focus on value, stock availability and exceptional service have underpinned our customer offer.

“Our forward planning and early strategic decisions have resulted in an improved profit performance, and we continue to navigate inflationary pressures and raw material constraints well.

“Clearly, this remains a time of uncertainty; however our differentiated business model leaves us well-placed to continue to outperform within a large and growing home improvement market.”

The company added that its Do It For Me services are improving as bosses work through longer order times due to high demand and global delays on materials.

It said this will result in orders being carried over into the next year on its accounts.