Housing recovery lifts builders’ firm Grafton

Kasmira Jefford
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BUILDERS’ merchanting and DIY group Grafton yesterday posted upbeat results for the first four months of the year, as the continuing recovery in the economy and housing market helped boost demand for repair and improvement jobs.

The company, which trades under brands including Plumbase and Selco in the UK, Ireland and Belgium, said that group revenue increased by 6.7 per cent to £698m in the four months to 30 April.

At constant currencies, revenues increased by 9.6 per cent.

The group said its merchanting business, which accounts for 90 per cent of revenues, posted like-for-like growth in the UK and Ireland, but declined slightly in Belgium where it has been impacted by the weak economy.

Selco, Grafton’s fast-growing building supplies chain for the so-called white van men, performed particularly well due to strong demand for residential repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) work in London.

Like-for-like revenue in Plumbase was “broadly in line with the prior year”, but operating profit was lower as the plumbing and heating market remained tough.

Chief executive Gavin Slark, said: “The Group is well positioned to benefit from growth in its markets and from ongoing development activity that will support further progress towards the delivery of its medium-term targets outlined earlier this year.”