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Wolseley plc reported sales for the third quarter of £3.2 billion (US$4.9 billion), up 6 percent over the same period a year ago. On a like-for-like basis, sales increased 2.4 percent. Total trading profit increased 7.9 percent.
“Wolseley continued to make decent progress in the third quarter, with good growth in the USA and the U.K. offsetting challenging conditions elsewhere in Europe," said Ian Meakins, Wolseley chief executive.
Fiscal year-to-date, sales were £9.5 billion (US$14.5 billion), down 5.3 percent from the year-ago period. Sales for ongoing operations were up 2 percent. Trading profit increased 5 percent to £474 million (US$725.3 million).
Third-quarter sales for Ferguson, Wolseley's U.S. business, increased 12.2 percent to £1.7 billion (US$2.6 billion). On a like-for-like basis, sales were up 8.3 percent. Sales improved in the Repair, Maintenance and Improvement (RMI), Blended Branches, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) and Waterworks businesses, while Industrial was held back by lower activity levels in the shale gas sector.
Acquisitions contributed 2.5 percent to the revenue growth in the period. Overall U.S. trading profit of £115 million (US$176 million) was £20 million (US$30.6 million) ahead.
Sales for Wolseley Canada in the third quarter were £190 million (US$290.7 million), up slightly from third quarter 2012 (flat on a like-for-like basis). New residential construction volumes were weaker, partially offset by continued infrastructure investment. Blended Branches grew modestly. Gross margins were ahead of last year and operating costs were tightly controlled. Trading profit of £7 million (US$10.7 million) was slightly ahead of last year.
In the U.K., third-quarter sales of £467 million (US$714.6 million) increased 11.2 percent year-over-year. Like-for-like sales were up 5.2 percent. Trading profit in the period was £2 million (US$3.1 million) lower at £24 million (US$36.7 million).
In the Nordic region like-for-like revenue of £430 million (US$658 million) decreased by 7.3 percent as construction markets and consumer sentiment remained very weak across the region. Trading profit of £6 million (US$9.2 million) in the quarter was £1 million below last year.
Like-for-like revenue in France declined by 9.2 percent to £236 million (US$361.1 million) as new residential construction remained weak. Trading profit of £4 million (US$6.1 million) was £1 million below last year.
Like-for-like revenue in Central Europe declined by 4.6 percent to £217 million (US$332.1 million). Switzerland grew modestly, though revenues were lower elsewhere in the region. Trading profit of £3 million (US$4.6 million) in the quarter was £6 million below last year.