Improvement has been driven by stronger sales in the trade division. Consumer markets, on the other hand, are lagging.
Year to date, total sales are up 4.0%. Like-for-like sales are up 2.8%
Chief executive Geoff Cooper said: "Whilst still early in the recovery of our markets, the stronger trading conditions experienced by our merchanting businesses in particular is a reassuring indicator of improved sentiment in construction. The recovery in activity, signalled by us in early 2013, looks set to continue into 2014 as owners' and occupiers' construction and maintenance activity increases from the very low levels encountered over the last five years. The group is well positioned, as the leading supplier of building materials in the UK, to take advantage of this recovery."