UK and US help Wolseley overcome European woes

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Building material supplier Wolseley today said that good growth in the UK and US helped to offset “challenging conditions” across Europe as it reported a rise in third-quarter profits.

The owner of the Plumb Center chain said like-for-like revenues in the US grew 8.3 per cent during the three months to 30 April, with the UK enjoying a 5.2 per cent rise.

That compared with declines of 9.2 per cent in France and 7.3 per cent across the Nordic region.

Overall trading profits rose to £150 million, an increase of 7.9 per cent on the same period last year, on revenues 6 per cent higher at £3.2 billion, and chief executive Ian Meakins said gross margins held steady at 27.9 per cent “despite a continuing tough pricing environment”.

He added: “We will continue to pursue operating efficiencies and remain focused on customer service, gaining market share and protecting our gross margins.

“We will manage the cost base of each of our businesses commensurate with market conditions while executing our growth initiatives in the more robust markets.”