Poor weather and exchange rates weigh on Grafton Group

Irish merchanting business grew for first time since early 2007

Revenues at Grafton Group were largely flat in the six months to the end of June as poor weather and currency fluctuations weighed on the bottom line of the building and DIY merchant.

In a trading update, Grafton said turnover in the period was €1.07 billion, up marginally from €1.05 billion in the first half of 2012. Grafton said, relative to 2012, the sterling to euro exchange rate brought the impact of its UK turnover down by €26 million.

It said half year operating profit would be in line with market expectations as a result of restructuring measures implemented last year.

The group, which owns stores including Woodie's and Atlantic Homecare, said its first quarter was affected by adverse weather conditions but that activity recovered in the last three months.


Grafton said its Irish merchanting business grew for the first time since early 2007, with daily like for like revenues rising by 1 per cent. “The business made competitive gains and grew revenues from its plumbing and heating branch implants and RMI products,” the group said.

Revenue in its Irish retailing businesses was flat with Grafton saying strong sales in May and June helped it to recover from a slow start to the year brought about by low temperatures.

Grafton’s UK merchanting business, which made up 74 per cent of group turnover, was said to be 1.7 per cent ahead of last year. This was driven by healthy demand in May and June, the opening of new stores in the London area and the acquisition of Thompson Building Centres in March which gave the group better coverage in the north east region.

Grafton said David Arnold, previously of Enterprise and Redrow, would join its board and assume the role of chief financial officer in September. He succeeds the retiring Colm ó Nualláin.

Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll

Steven Carroll is an Assistant News Editor with The Irish Times