European distributor Wolseley plc reported sales for the fiscal first quarter ended Oct. 31 of £4.4 billion (US$5.6 billion), up 22.9 percent over the same period a year ago. Trading profit grew 21.2 percent to £303million (US$385.4 million).
"U.S. like-for-like revenue growth was 4.2 percent with commercial and residential markets continuing to grow well and industrial markets steadying. Good volume growth was partly offset by the ongoing impact of commodity price deflation which reduced the U.S. revenue growth rate by 2.4 percent," said Wolseley Chief Executive John Martin. "Our other markets were more challenging as the UK heating market was weak and Nordic construction markets deteriorated. While revenue growth trends have improved slightly we continue to manage costs and productivity very carefully while continuing to drive customer service and strong cash conversion."
Ferguson, Wolseley's U.S. business, reported first-quarter sales of £2.9 billion (US$3.8 billion), up 8.9 percent over a year ago (based on a constant-currency comparison). On a like-for-like basis, sales grew 4.2 percent, including price deflation of 2.4 percent. Acquisitions contributed another 2.6 percent of revenue growth. In constant currency, trading profit increased 6.6 percent to £251 million (US$319.3 million).
In Canada and Central Europe, sales increased 19.5 percent to £343 million (US$436.3 million). Like-for-like revenue was down 2.7 percent. Trading profit declined 4.5 percent to £21 million (US$26.7 million).
In the UK, sales were down 2.2 percent to £499 million (US$634.8 million). Like-for-like revenue decreased 2.9 percent. Repairs, maintenance and improvement markets remained weak. Trading profit for the period declined 10.5 percent to £17 million (US$21.6 million).
In the Nordic region, sales grew 4.8 percent to £582 million (US$740.4 million), and like-for-like revenue declined 2.9 percent as construction markets deteriorated. Trading profit decreased 4 percent to £24 million (US$30.5 million).