DERS' merchant Travis Perkins has posted a drop in profits of 11 per cent and issued a warning of the "fragile" state of trading.
Pre-tax profits for 2009 were £180m, down from £202.5m in the previous year, as revenue dropped 8 per cent to £2.9bn.
The firm, which owns the Wickes chain, dubbed trading conditions last year as "the most difficult in the group's history".
However, the company said it was still outperforming its rivals.
Chief executive Geoff Cooper said: "Management has taken decisive and resolute action to deal with the impact of the downturn and in doing so has maintained Travis Perkins as one of the strongest operators in the sector."
"Our profitability, although lower that in pre-recession conditions, compares well with our competitors."
And in a statement the company warned: "Whilst our markets are no longer exhibiting the abrupt declines in volume that characterised the start of the recession, activity levels remain fragile."