Irish builders merchants and DIY group Grafton, which owns the Buildbase, Plumbase, Jacksons and Selco merchant brands in the UK has issued an interim management statement for the period to November 2009 which shows UK turnover down 4%.
However, turnover is continuing to stablise. Quarterly turnover across the group was €470m in Q1, €520m in Q2 and €522m in Q3. Group turnover for the month of October was €174m.
Group turnover to the end of October was €1.686bn down 28% on €2.347bn in the same period last year. Like-for-like sales per working day in the group's UK businesses in October were down 4% compared with minus 18% in the first half.
In Ireland, like for like sales per working day in October were down 30% compared with minus 37% for the six months to June 30.
To the end of October, merchanting turnover was down 21% compared with 24% at the half year, DIY turnover was down 19% compared with 18% at the half year.
The statement issued reports that the leading macro economic indicators , such as increases in; housing starts, housing transactions, mortgage lending and house prices, continue to improve. Increases in activity should be reflected in improving trading levels in Grafton's UK merchanting business during 2010.
"The extensive rationalisation and integration programme is well advanced and the benefit of cost reductions is being reflected across the Group. The Group is cash generative and net debt levels continue to be reduced. Grafton maintains a comprehensive business franchise in its core markets with strong competitive operating units and a conservatively managed securely funded balance sheet with good liquidity. The Group remains well positioned to capitalise on upturns in activity in its markets as they emerge."