Grafton Group has issued a trading update for the period from 1 July 2023 to 31 October 2023.

According to the update, Grafton continued to deliver a resilient performance in this latest trading period, despite slightly softer than anticipated market conditions in September and October. Group revenue in the ten months to 31 October 2023 was up by 1.7% to £1.96 billion (2022: £1.93 billion). The group remains on track to deliver full year operating profit in line with expectations supported by cost reduction measures implemented earlier this year and ongoing cost discipline.

Overall demand was more subdued in the four months to the end of October leading to a marginal decline in year-on-year average daily like-for-like revenue with modest price deflation experienced in the distribution businesses in Ireland and the UK. This outcome compared to slight growth in average daily like-for-like revenue reported for the first half.

Grafton continued to benefit from the breadth of the geographic spread of its operations with 60% of revenue generated from operations outside the UK, in Ireland, the Netherlands and Finland.

In Ireland, Chadwicks saw a resumption of growth in average daily like-for-like revenue in the four months to the end of October against the backdrop of firmer demand in the residential repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) and new build markets.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission approved the acquisition of Rooney’s single branch building materials distribution business and this deal was completed at the end of October.

Revenue increased in recent months in Woodie’s DIY, Home and Garden business in Ireland following weaker demand for seasonal products at the start of the second half.

The trading environment in the UK RMI market remained challenging for Selco as discretionary spending on the home continued to be under pressure from high inflation and higher interest rates. Average daily like-for-like revenue for merchanting in the UK for the four months to October is down 3.2%, and 1.8% over a ten month period.

In Manufacturing, CPI Mortars experienced a decline in volumes as housebuilders reduced housing starts in response to lower reservation rates for new homes. Revenue was also lower in StairBox, the bespoke staircase manufacturing business that supplies the RMI market, following a prolonged period of uninterrupted growth.

Eric Born, Chief Executive Officer of Grafton Group, commented: “Despite more challenging markets in recent months, we expect Group operating profit for the year to be in line with expectations. Our strong focus on cost management mitigated some of the impacts of weaker trading and we continue to support our customers with excellent value propositions across our portfolio of businesses.

“Our strong balance sheet and cash generative operations provide us with the resources to develop our businesses organically and to take advantage of acquisition opportunities as they arise. We continue to be actively engaged with potential vendors to build a deeper pool of opportunities in our targeted European markets.”