Wolseley’s half-year results show pre-tax profits down 20 percent after one-off charges and sales down by 8 percent to £6.3bn.

UK sales were flat and Wolseley described conditions in Europe as “very weak”.

Wolseley reported flat revenues and margins at its UK operation for the half year to January 31 2013. Turnover in the UK was steady at £853m from £850m last time with trading profit up to £45m from £44m.

Ian Meakins, Wolseley chief executive, said: “Like-for-like growth in the third quarter to date has been consistent with the second quarter overall. We continue to see strong growth in the US, a broadly flat performance in Canada and the UK and very weak conditions in Europe.”