Builders merchant group Grafton Group plc saw trading rise by 5.1%, to £1.0 billion, ahead of expectations, in the four months to 31 October 2020.
A trading update issued this morning (November 12) reports a strong recovery in the period following the significant disruption to trading in the second quarter caused by the pandemic. Demand was strongest in the Woodie’s DIY, Home and Garden business in Ireland and in the residential RMI segment in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands.
The Group also benefitted from pent-up demand that developed during the lockdown and from households investing part of the savings from reduced spending on travel, leisure and hospitality in their homes. The increase in the number of people working from home due to the pandemic also contributed to higher demand in stores and branches.
Gavin Slark, Chief Executive Officer of Grafton Group plc said: “ I am very grateful for the way that colleagues across the Group have continued to respond to the ongoing pandemic and thank them sincerely for their dedication, commitment and hard work which has enabled our businesses to continue to trade and to support our customers in a safe environment. Despite all the current uncertainties, we are very encouraged by the trading and financial performance of the Group over recent months. Grafton is in a very strong financial position and has a diversified portfolio of market leading businesses with exposure to residential RMI leaving it well placed to benefit from current market trends.”
The UK distribution businesses rose 2.3% – Selco saw average daily like-for-like growth of 10.8% – over the four months – while the Irish businesses were up by 11%.
Group revenue for the ten months to 31 October 2020 in continuing operations declined by 9.0 per cent to £2.07 billion and by 9.3 per cent in constant currency. Group like-for-like revenue was down by 11.4 per cent in the ten months due to the impact of the pandemic on trading in the second quarter that was partly offset by a marked improvement in trading in the four months to the end of October.