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UK-based Wolseley plc, parent company of Ferguson Enterprises, reported third-quarter sales of £3.1 billion (US$ 5.2 billion), down 0.8 percent. On a like-for-like basis, sales were up 5.1 percent.
Trading profit for the half was £155 million (US$260 million).
Growth was driven by strength in the U.S. and the Nordics, offsetting challenging conditions elsewhere.
Fiscal year-to-date, sales were £9.6 billion (US$16 billion), up 1.3 percent from the year-ago period. Sales for ongoing operations were up 3.3 percent. Trading profit increased 6.5 percent to £505 million (US$846 million).
Third-quarter sales for Ferguson, Wolseley's U.S. business, increased .5 percent to £1.7 billion (US$2.8 billion). On a like-for-like basis, sales were up 9 percent. Sales improved in the blended branches, waterworks, fire and fabrication and B2C businesses, while industrial remained comparatively weaker.
Overall U.S. trading profit of £122 million (US$204 million) was £7 million (US$11.7 million) ahead.
Sales for Wolseley Canada in the third quarter were £156 million (US$261 million), down 17.9 percent from the third quarter of 2013, down 1.6 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 £3 million (US$5.03 million) was behind £4 million (US$ 6.70 million) from last year.
In the U.K., third-quarter sales of £451 million (US$755.6 million) decreased 2.8 percent year-over-year. Like-for-like sales were down 3.5 percent. Trading profit in the period was £24 million (US$40 million), remaining unchanged from the same period a year ago.
In the Nordic region like-for-like revenue of £444 million (US$743 million) increased by 5.5 percent. Trading profit of £10 million (US$16.8 million) in the quarter was £3 million ahead of last year.
Like-for-like revenue in France declined by 1.6 percent to £148 million (US$248 million) as new residential construction remained weak. Trading profit of £3 million (US$5 million) was £2 million below last year.
Like-for-like revenue in Central Europe declined by 1.8 percent to £152 million (US$254.6 million). Trading profit of £3 million (US$5 million) in the quarter was £6 million below last year.