Both sales and profits were better than expected in the two months to 31 December 2020 at builders merchant chain Grafton Group. The group announced this morning (January 12) that average daily like-for-like revenue was up by 7.2 per cent, with total revenue for the period ahead by 10.8 per cent at £439.4 million (2019: £396.7 million).
The last two months of 2020 saw a continuation of the strong recovery shown in the four months to the end of October which followed a sharp decline in second quarter revenue caused by the pandemic. Demand was strongest in the Woodie’s and Chadwicks businesses in Ireland and in Selco in the UK.
Group revenue for the year from continuing operations still declined by 6.1 per cent to £2.51 billion (2019: £2.67 billion) thanks to the sharp decline in trading during the second quarter lockdown.
UK merchanting sales were ahead by 5.1% for the two months to December 31, but 14.2% down for the whole year. Selco continued to perform strongly with growth in average daily like-for-like revenue accelerating to 18.1 per cent in the final two months of the year from 10.8 per cent in the four months to the end of October.
In Ireland Chadwicks continued to sustain double digit growth in average daily like-for-like revenue through the second half driven by strong demand in the residential RMI market and growth in house building as transactions recovered.
Volumes were stable relative to previous months in the UK mortar manufacturing business and remained below the prior year level as house building recovers in a market where underlying demand remain strong.
Grafton Group plc Chief Executive Officer Gavin Slark said: “I greatly appreciate the way that colleagues across the Group have responded to the pandemic and thank them most sincerely for their exceptional commitment, hard work and support that enables our businesses to trade in a safe environment. We are very encouraged by the strong recovery and performance of the Group in the second half of the year. Despite the uncertainties related to the pandemic, we believe Grafton is well placed for continuing progress in the year ahead supported by our very strong financial and market positions.”