Chadwicks owner says UK market ‘softer than anticipated’

Grafton Group’s merchanting arm in Republic performed well in first half of year

Grafton Group chief executive Gavin Slark. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Grafton Group chief executive Gavin Slark. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Heiton Buckley owner Grafton Group saw “softer than anticipated” market conditions in the UK in the first half of this year with revenue across the group increasing by just 2.4 per cent.

In the six months to June 30th, group revenue increased to £1.48 billion (€1.64 billion). The company noted that trading in May and June was measured against a strong performance the previous year.

The merchanting arm of the business, which includes Chadwicks, saw growth of 6.7 per cent in the Republic, a higher rate than in any other territories.

UK merchanting growth was 1.4 per cent, the Netherlands saw 5.4 per cent revenue growth while Belgium growth was just 0.3 per cent. The UK business, the company said, was weighed down by weak demand in the residential repair, maintenance and house building markets.

Aside from its merchanting businesses, Grafton also controls Woodie’s DIY in the Republic. Across its entire portfolio, the company trades from 725 branches including Selco and Buildbase in the UK. In the first half of the year its retail arm grew 2.2 per cent.

“Following a strong start to the year Grafton saw some easing of trends in recent months,” said chief executive Gavin Slark.

“We expect a continuation of the positive trading conditions in our markets in Ireland and the Netherlands. Activity over the summer in the UK will be an important determinant of momentum entering the significant trading months of September through to November.”

Mr Slark flagged that the company’s profit forecast for the year remains “broadly unchanged”.