In an interim statement, Travis Perkins has reported a 1.2 percent decrease in revenue for the four-month period ending April 2013 compared to the same period last year. Like-for-like sales were 1.8 percent lower.

The company believes the impact on first-quarter sales is unlikely to be recovered in the remaining eight months of the year. Nevertheless, given its continued focus on margin and costs, it expects that full-year earnings per share should be broadly in line with market expectations, although it is likely that earnings will be more heavily weighted to the second half than in previous years.

Geoff Cooper, chief executive, said: "Latent demand and better weather have contributed to the encouraging trend at the start of the second quarter, with sales recovering in April and early May as activity has picked up. Leading indicators have strengthened, which continues to suggest there should be an improvement in volumes in the second half of the year as we anticipated.

"Overall, the group continues to be in good shape and poised to respond to any meaningful signs of market recovery."