Grafton reports stable first quarter

Published:  11 May, 2012

DUBLIN: Grafton Group yesterday published its interim statement which revealed increased turnover in its UK merchanting division for the first quarter of 2012.

The average daily like-for-like turnover in the UK Merchanting business, which accounted for 74% of Group turnover, increased by 1.7% over the first four months. UK Merchanting turnover showed a good improvement in the first quarter but this trend moderated in April due to the record levels of rainfall. Overall market conditions remained stable despite more broadly based economic weakness. The Selco, Plumbase and specialists merchanting businesses performed most strongly in the period.

Turnover in the Irish Merchanting business was down by 9% due to a further decline in spending on housing RMI. The impact on profit of lower turnover was offset by cost reductions. Turnover in the Irish retailing business was down by 16%. April trading in the DIY business was affected by adverse weather conditions which delayed spending on gardening and seasonal products compared to the strong trading levels in April 2011 which benefitted from very favourable weather conditions.

Group turnover for the four months to 30 April 2012 was €676m, an increase of 5.3% on turnover of €642m  in the first four months of 2011. The translation of sterling turnover at a more favourable exchange rate against the euro and the inclusion of the Group’s share of turnover in the Belgian Joint Venture contributed to the increase in turnover for the period.

Operating profit for the four months was ahead of the prior year despite subdued volumes in the UK and a difficult macro-economic environment in Ireland. The positive operating profit performance for the period reflected the benefit of self-help initiatives. The Group expects its performance for the full year to be in line with market expectations.

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