Grafton Group plc, the builders merchants and DIY group with operations in the UK and Ireland, said today in a trading update, that group turnover to the end of October was €1.686 billion - - down €661 million or 28 per cent on the €2.347 billion in the same period last year.
Like for like sales per working day in the Group’s UK businesses in October were down 4 per cent on a constant currency basis compared to minus 18 per cent in the first half. In Ireland, like for like sales per working day in October were down 30 per cent compared to minus 37 per cent for the six months to 30th June 2009.
Quarterly turnover across the Group was €470 million in quarter one, €520 million in quarter two and €522 million in quarter three. Group turnover for the month of October was €174 million.
In the period to the end of October, in constant currency terms group merchanting turnover was down 21 per cent compared to 24 per cent at the half year, DIY turnover was down 19 per cent compared to 18 per cent at the half year and manufacturing was down 45 per cent compared to 49 per cent at half year.
Grafton says leading macroeconomic indicators in the sector in the UK (increases in; housing starts, housing transactions, mortgage lending and house prices) continue to improve. Volumes have increased in dry mortar sales which are mainly exposed to the new housing sector. Increases in activity should be reflected in improving trading levels in Grafton’s UK merchanting business during 2010.
The group says extensive rationalisation and integration programme is well advanced and the benefit of cost reductions is being reflected across the business, which is cash generative.
Net debt levels continue to be reduced. Grafton says it 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. It says it remains well positioned to capitalise on upturns in activity in its markets"as they emerge."