A billion pounds is a good round number and it turns out that is the market value that an investor expects Wickes, the DIY chain, to reach before long. It is currently only worth £ 566million. Why does he think the market gets only half of its true value?
The answer could hardly be more trivial. Wickes parted ways with former owner Travis Perkins just six months ago and many investors and analysts haven’t had time to familiarize themselves with the stock. And, while Travis is worth £ 3.5bn, the standalone Wickes is small enough to escape the attention of some investment professionals altogether.
This gives any investor willing to take a closer look the chance to get a good deal. One of these fund managers is Simon Murphy of Tyndall Investment Management. “Wickes is a very well run company that is not fully understood by the market,” he says.
Retailers of all shapes and sizes struggle with the problem of maintaining the profitability of their physical stores while meeting the demands of online shoppers, but “Wickes’ store economy is very favorable,” according to Murphy.
“Competitors like B&Q have huge hangars – and all that space needs to be filled, because customers would find empty warehouses off-putting,” he says. “Wickes has about 25,000 products online but only 9,000 in its stores, while B&Q warehouses have about 40,000 – all of that inventory is a huge amount of money.”