European distributor Wolseley plc reported sales for the fiscal first quarter ended Oct. 31 of £3.6 billion (US$5.5 billion), up 5.3 percent over the same period a year ago. Trading profit grew 6 percent to £250 million (US$377.8 million).
"In the U.S. we achieved good growth in decent commercial and residential markets, partly offset by weaker industrial markets, which account for about 15 percent of U.S. revenue," said Wolseley Chief Executive Ian Meakins. "We achieved good growth in the Nordics as the steady recovery of construction markets continued, though revenue declined in the UK where the markets remained challenging."
Ferguson, Wolseley's U.S. business, reported first-quarter sales of £2.3 billion (US$3.5 billion), up 6.9 percent over a year ago. On a like-for-like basis, sales grew 4.5 percent. Trading profit increased 12.6 percent to £196 million (US$296.2 million).
In Canada, sales fell 8.8 percent to £182 million (US$275 million). Like-for-like revenue in Canada was down 3.7 percent. Trading profit declined 18.2 percent to £13 million (US$19.6 million).
In the UK, sales were down 20.8 percent to £510 million (US$770.7 million). Like-for-like revenue decreased 1.1 percent. Repairs, maintenance and improvement markets remained weak. The acquisitions made last year contributed a further 4 percent to revenue growth. Trading profit for the period declined 20.8 percent to £19 million (US$28.7 million).
In the Nordic region, sales grew 4.8 percent to £503 million (US$760.1 million), and like-for-like revenue grew 5.5 percent, with growth in each country. Trading profit improved by £1 million (US$1.5 million).
In Central Europe and France, sales increased 4.2 percent to £105 million (US$158.7 million) and like-for-like revenue declined 1.2 percent. Trading profit increased 12.5 percent to £9 million (US$13.6 million).