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Sun June 20 2021

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Grafton sales down 26% year-to-date

11 Jun 20 Grafton Group, the building materials distributor and DIY retailer, has reported a 26% fall in revenues for 2020 so far.

Grafton brands include Selco Builders Warehouse
Grafton brands include Selco Builders Warehouse

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.

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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."

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