European distributor Wolseley plc reported sales from continuing operations for the first quarter ended Oct. 31 of £3.5 billion (US$5.5 billion), up 5.2 percent over the same period a year ago. On a like-for-like basis, sales were up 6.6 percent.
Trading profit from continuing operations grew 8.8 percent to £235 million (US$370.6 million).
“Wolseley has continued to generate strong revenue growth across all businesses and all regions in the USA with double-digit growth for the second consecutive quarter. We generated modest like-for-like revenue growth in Canada, UK and Nordics. Central Europe and France declined due to continued weak market conditions," Wolseley Chief Executive Ian Meakins said.
Ferguson, Wolseley's U.S. business, reported first-quarter sales of £2 billion (US$3.2 billion), up 10.7 percent over a year ago. On a like-for-like basis, sales grew 12.4 percent. Trading profit increased 22.5 percent to £174 million (US$274.7 million).
In Canada, sales fell 6.8 percent to £221 million (US$349 million). Like-for-like revenue in Canada was up 1.7 percent. Gross margins were slightly lower than last year. Trading profit declined £1 million (US$1.6 million) to £16 million (US$25.3 million) due to movements in exchange rates.
In the UK, sales were up 4.3 percent to £504 million (US$795.7 million). Like-for-like revenue increased 0.5 percent. Growth in residential RMI markets, which represent the majority of UK revenue, remained modest. The Fusion Provida acquisition made last year contributed a further 4.4 percent to revenue growth. Trading profit for the period was £24 million (US$37.9 million), £1 million (US$1.6 million) behind last year.
In the Nordic region, sales grew 2.5 percent to £541 million (US$854.1 million), and like-for-like revenue grew 1.9 percent including 1 percent price inflation. Growth in Denmark and Sweden was largely offset by declines in Finland. Trading profit declined by £3 million (US$4.7 million), £2 million (US$3.2 million) of which was due to unfavorable exchange rate movements.
In Central Europe and France, sales declined 14.4 percent to £225 million (US$355.2 million) and like-for-like revenue declined by 9.3 percent including 0.5 percent price inflation. Trading profit declined by £7 million (US$11.1 million) to £6 million (US$9.5 million) including £1 million (US$1.6 million) due to unfavorable exchange rate movements. The wood solutions business in France has been classified as held for sale and is excluded from the results of the ongoing businesses.