Grafton Group Sales Helped as Better Weather Unleashes DIY Work

Grafton Group Plc, owner of the Woodie’s home-improvement chain in Ireland, said a flurry of construction work in May and June helped sustain first-half sales against a prolonged winter.

Revenue was little changed at 1.1 billion euros ($1.4 billion), the Dublin-based builders’ supplier said in a release today. Business at the U.K. merchanting division gained 1.7 percent, though the pound to euro exchange rate sapped 26 million euros from sales, it said.

“Trading in the half year was affected by adverse weather conditions in the first quarter and a recovery in activity levels in the second quarter,” the company said in a statement.

Grafton’s pick up in sales in the second quarter bolsters hopes of an emerging recovery in the British building industry. The Irish company’s retail arm Selco added stores in Wimbledon and Old Kent Road, tapping London’s more robust construction market.

SIG Group Plc, a U.K. distributor of insulation to builders, and Bovis Homes Group Plc posted growth in sales.

Separately, Grafton said it has appointed David Arnold as chief financial officer, replacing Colm O’Nuallain who is retiring.

Grafton fell 0.9 percent to 5.55 euros in Dublin trading. First-half revenue was in line with an estimate derived from analysts’ predictions collated by Bloomberg. Travis Perkins Plc, which owns the Wickes home-improvement chain, fell 0.4 percent in London.