DIY specialist Grafton's sales jump 13pc in four months
Grafton Group, the DIY retailer that owns Woodies and Atlantic Homecare, said sales for the first four months of the year jumped 13.5pc as demand for building materials rose here and soared in the UK.
Sales jumped to £654m (€800m) as demand grew in Ireland, the UK and Belgium, the London-listed company said yesterday. Profitability for the period was significantly ahead of last year, it added.
Grafton said sales from its Irish merchanting business inched 2.9pc higher in the four-month period, while they rose by 13.4pc in its UK merchanting business and 67pc in Belgium. Average daily like-for-like sales in Ireland jumped 11.4pc in Ireland compared with 9.9pc in the UK.
"The DIY retailing business in Ireland had a positive start to the year due to stronger demand for seasonal products relative to the same period in 2013," Grafton said yesterday. "Despite the sustained improvement in consumer sentiment, the recovery in core Irish retail sales has been modest due to continuing pressure on disposable incomes."
Grafton makes three-quarters of its money in the UK and has recently scrapped its Dublin listing. Still, the company's headquarters is in Ireland and Grafton held its annual shareholder meeting in the capital yesterday.
Last year, the company was hit by fierce winter weather which dampened construction in the first three months across northern Europe.
That flattered this year's gains but analysts and investors still hailed the improvement.
Shares rose 3.8pc in early trading while investment houses such as Peel Hunt upgraded the stock to "hold" from "sell". Merrion Stockbrokers in Dublin said yesterday's statement was a positive trading update.