However, exchange rate movements were unfavourable to the company hitting trading profit by £12m. Strong growth in the Nordics and the USA managed to to head off more challenging circumstances elsewhere.
Like-for-like revenue for the ongoing businesses grew 5.1 per cent ahead of last year. The plumbing merchant saw like-for-like revenue in the UK decline as it continued to focus on protecting gross margins.
"Cash generation was good and we are continuing to invest in technology and new business models to deliver better customer service and gain profitable market share", said Ian Mekins, chief executive.