Wolseley sales buoyed by the US and Nordics

Kasmira Jefford
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PLUMBING supplier Wolseley reported a 5.1 per cent rise in third-quarter like-for-like sales yesterday as strong performance in the US and the Nordics helped to offset disappointing results in its home market.

The company, which operates the Plumb Center and Ferguson in the US and Britain, said it expects to grow revenues by four per cent over the next six months, driven by its biggest market, the US.

It also said it aims to expand by making further bolt-on acquisitions in all its core markets of the US, UK, Canada and Sweden. This comes after Wolseley made five acquisitions in the quarter for £199m in the US, Britain and Taiwan.

In the US, which accounts for a third of revenues, like-for-like sales were up by nine per cent. Meanwhile Wolseley’s Nordics business also saw a strong recovery, rising 7.5 per cent.

Chief executive Ian Meakins said: “We continued to make good progress in the third quarter with strong growth in the US and the Nordics offsetting more challenging conditions elsewhere.”

UK like-for-like sales fell a worse-than-expected 3.5 per cent, which the group blamed on its decision to cut back on high volume but low-margin business to protect its gross margins.

Foreign exchange movements wiped £12m trading profits, resulting in a small 0.6 per cent rise to £155m in the three months to 30 April.

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