The Woodie DIY arm of Grafton Group delivered a “strong” commercial performance here in the key fourth quarter of 2019 and throughout the year in general.
Meanwhile, the marketing business here recovered volumes in the “seasonally important” month of November, and the group’s Chadwicks business ended the year on a firmer note, according to a group commercial update.
In the Irish market, Grafton expects to report a constant 6.2pc currency increase in revenue for 2019, compared to the previous year.
Overall, trade in each of Grafton’s markets in November and December was better than the group had expected, and although the final markets “remain moderate,” Grafton now expects to report an adjusted operating profit of around £ 202. million (€ 235 million).
Revenue from continuing operations increased by 2.7pc to £ 2.67 billion (€ 3.1 billion) during the 12 months.
However, in the United Kingdom, households remain “very cautious” regarding discretionary spending, as uncertainty persisted during the last three months of the year, and sentiment continued to weigh on demand in the commercial market, Grafton said. .
Weak markets in September and October continued until November and December, but did not deteriorate further.
Grafton’s approach in the United Kingdom remains a strict control of costs, which boosts efficiency and brings productivity gains.
Elsewhere, in the Netherlands, the impact of a smoother fourth-quarter negotiation in the commercial market was largely offset by positive gross margin trends backed by acquisition gains and integration benefits.
Gavin Slark, CEO of Grafton Group, said: “2019 was a year of significant strategic progress with the acquisition of Powder in July that increased our scale and consolidated our leading position in the market in the Netherlands.
We also restructured our business portfolio with the successful removal of Plumbase and the Belgian marketing business in October. “
Looking towards this year, Slark said that while the group “remains cautious” regarding the moment of a recovery in the UK commercial market, “our expectations for 2020 are positive for the group in general and we are optimistic about the opportunities of growth. “
Grafton will publish its final results for the year on February 27.