Grafton selling more building supplies in Britain and Ireland

BUILDERS’ merchant Grafton posted an eight per cent rise in annual revenues to £1.8bn yesterday, as demand for DIY and building equipment started to recover.

Grafton, which moved its primary stock listing from Dublin to London in October, said its UK merchanting business posted a 3.2 per cent like-for-like rise in revenues, or a total rise of 6.7 per cent.

“The improvement in market conditions was driven by the recovery in the wider economy and the housing market in particular,” the firm said in a statement.

Builders were more bullish in Ireland towards the end of the year, helping push total merchanting sales up 3.6 per cent, or 1.9 per cent including currency movements.

This is the first year Grafton has posted growth in Ireland since before the property bubble burst, back in 2007.

But Irish consumers were less optimistic, with Grafton’s retailing unit posting 1.5 per cent overall revenue growth, or a fall of 0.9 per cent including the euro’s movements against sterling.

“Grafton is well placed to benefit from a sustained improvement in trading conditions, but we are adopting a cautious stance towards our prospects for 2014 until such time that activity levels in our principal markets have strengthened further,” said the firm’s chief executive Gavin Slark.

Shares in the firm closed down 2.45 per cent at 637p.