Grafton, which has operations in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands, generated £810.9m revenue from continuing operations in the five months to 31st May 2020, down from £1.09bn in the same period last year.
The decline was attributed wholly to the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown that it led to.
Up until the middle of March, Grafton was having a ‘solid start’ to the year. By the end of March, first quarter revenues were down 2%.
As national shutdown measures took hold, group revenue was down 80% in April.
As trading restrictions began to ease during May, most stores and depots reopened, or at least partially. Revenue in May was down 38% on 2019.
Grafton said that stores that have reopened have seen ‘encouraging’ levels of business, but recognised that this may be more due to pent-up demand rather than an accurate reflection of actual ongoing activity levels.
Grafton brands include Selco, Buildbase and Leyland SDM.
Selco reopened 42 branches initially on 6th May for Click & Collect and Click & Deliver trading only; the remaining 26 reopened on 18th May. In a gradual return to a more normal operating environment, trading in the first 42 branches that reopened was extended to a full in-branch self-select service by the month end. The rest of the stores will be fully operational by 22nd June. .
The traditional UK merchanting businesses supported customers with branch collections and on-site deliveries of materials used mainly for outdoor residential RMI projects. The return of house-builders to construction sites and the re-starting of commercial projects has been slower, Grafton said, so this segment of the market has seen a more gradual increase in activity.
Both Selco and Buildbase were able to process an increase in on-line orders having upgraded their websites – Selco in February and Buildbase during lockdown.
Both Leyland SDM, the specialist decorators' merchant in London and TG Lynes, a distributor of commercial pipes and fittings in London, remained open and traded well during the lockdown, Grafton said.
Chief executive Gavin Slark said: “Grafton is in a strong financial position and, with a resilient portfolio of businesses, will emerge from this crisis well positioned for future growth."