Heating and plumbers merchant group BSS is expecting to announce a slight improvement in sales when the full-year results are released next month.
The group, which owns PTS, F&P and the BSS brands expects like-for-likesales in the second half to be up 1.1%, compared with the first half decline of 6.8%.
Total revenue for the financial year is expected to be ahead of last year’s 1,340.6m, but only slightly.
The group’s pre-close trading statement said that trading performance had improved as the financial year progressed with fourth quarter like for like sales growth of 5.1% making up for the third quarter’s decrease of 2.6%. PTS and F&P benefited from the cold weather and the boiler scrappage .
The group said: “The core repair and maintenance business that underpins revenue has remained resilient throughout the financial year and new revenue initiatives, including heating spares, renewables and above ground drainage, are continuing to show encouraging progress.
“As expected, gross margin percentage in the year is lower than last year reflecting competitive market conditions, increased contract sales and strong trading performance from F & P Wholesale. Gross margin improvement in the new financial year is a key priority.”
Like for like costs, excluding new branches and acquired businesses, are expected to be around 6% below last year. During the year £12m was spent on acquisitions and in excess of £9m on dividends.
The Group’s preliminary results are to be announced on 25 May 2010.