Monday 16 September 2019

Revenue increases at Woodie's DIY owner despite 'adverse' weather conditions

Grafton Group CEO Gavin Slark
Grafton Group CEO Gavin Slark
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

The owner of Woodie's DIY, Grafton Group, has reported a "positive" start to 2018, with revenue increasing 7pc year-on-year to £907m (€1bn) in the four months to 30 April.

In constant currency revenue increased by 6.2pc.

The growth comes despite "adverse" weather conditions in March, which extended into the first half of April. As a result, trading in March was weaker than in January and February.

In a trading update ahead of the company’s AGM today, Grafton said that the adverse weather has had a "significant impact" on activity in its markets, and reduced the rate of growth in average daily like-for-like revenue to 1.3pc cent for the period.

In Ireland, the merchanting business delivered strong revenue growth on the back of good momentum in the residential and new house build markets.

The Woodie's business in Ireland experienced a "strong" start to the year that reflected positive market conditions, as well as the benefit of store upgrades and new and extended product ranges, Grafton said.

"We should continue to benefit from exposure to strong growth markets in Ireland and the Netherlands and, consistent with our view coming into the year, expect underlying demand in the UK RMI market to remain subdued but house building to perform strongly," Gavin Slark, chief executive of Grafton Group, said.

While demand for outdoor seasonal products sustained a sharp fall in March, the demand gradually recovered during April, and there was good demand for non-seasonal products in the period.

Meanwhile the Netherlands merchanting business also performed strongly against the backdrop of a growing Dutch economy and construction sector, the company said.

In addition, Grafton said that its 2017 acquisitions in the Netherlands were making “very good” progress.

Looking forwards and the group said that its overall outlook is positive. Despite weaker trading in March and April Grafton’s expectation for the full year remains unchanged.

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