Builders merchant group Grafton saw sales at its Irish arm grow for the first time since 2007.
In an interim management statement, Grafton said that average daily like-for-like revenue at its merchanting business in Ireland – which includes Chadwicks and Heiton Buckley – rose 1% in the first six months of 2013. It said the business had made competitive gains and grew revenue from its plumbing and heating branch implants and from repair, maintenance and improvement products.
Grafton’s UK businesses – which include Buildbase, Plumbase, Jacksons, Selco and Civils and Lintels have been better than Irish sales for some time. About three-quarters of Grafton’s revenue and profits are generated in the UK.
Group revenue rose 1.5% in the period to €1.07bn despite a €26m hit due to sterling’s weakness against the euro.
Chief executive Gavin Slark, said that Grafton’s UK merchanting business experienced stronger demand in May and June, with like-for-like revenue 1.7pc ahead in the first six months compared with the first half of 2013.
“The fall in revenue in four months to the end of April, due principally to record low temperatures that delayed the start of the outdoor season, was fully recovered in May and June against the backdrop of a generally weak retail market,” the statement said.
Grafton said it expects half- year operating profit to be in line with market expectations.