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Wolseley enjoys strong quarter

Wolseley enjoyed a 2 per cent rise in revenues for the first quarter, the firm revealed today.

An interim management statement released by the firm said the better-than-expected trading performance was largely due to the North American strength, as well as tight control of gross margin and costs.

According to the financial update, the plumbing and heating specialist saw revenue rise to £3.47 billion for the three months to 31 October, up from £3.39bn for the same time last year.

In the UK business, revenue dropped by 4 per cent to £633 million, although the company saw like-for-like revenue grow 5 per cent from 12 months ago, with the difference being due to the disposal of business.

Excluding the effect of currency exchange, acquisitions and disposals, sales days, and branch openings and closures, like-for-like revenues in the first quarter grew by 4 per cent.

The statement also show figures for the American side of the business, which enjoyed a 10 per cent rise in revenues from last year to £1.38bn.

Wolseley said like-for-like growth for 6 per cent, largely due to the ongoing demand improvement in residential and RMI markets in the US.

In Canada, the company saw revenues rise 16 per cent on a reported basis, and 7 per cent on a like-for-like basis to £225m.

The firm added that operating costs at Wolseley were £23m lower than last year.

Wolseley chief executive Ian Meakins said: “Most markets continued to grow in the first quarter and the group’s trading performance was slightly ahead of management expectations. Whilst demand has improved in most countries, pricing competition has remained intense.”

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