Plumbers and builders merchant group Wolseley has reported a rise in revenue and profit for the year to July 31, 2011, despite its Bathstore business suffering a 15% decline in revenue.
Trading conditions for Bathstore were particularly challenging, a company update revealed, although the business continued to generate profit.
Sales at Wolseley rose 3% to £13,558m, while gross profit also went up 3% to £3,782m. Trading profit for the period soared 38% to £622m.
The company said improved trading profit and gross margin, which went up 20 basis points, was driven by better customer service and employee engagement.
Revenue in the UK was 3% lower in the period, although the ongoing businesses were 2% ahead, mainly due to commodity price inflation. During the year, the company disposed of its Electric Center brand to Edmondson Electrical and the Build Center business to Jewson.
Uk trading profit of £109m was £18m ahead of last year.
Despite strong competition, Plumb and Parts Center improved gross margins and improved market share in Q4, said the report. Pipe and Climate and Drain Center also performed well, generating strong growth thanks to improved management focus and some benefits from commodity price inflation.
Chief executive Ian Meakins said: "Wolseley is in good shape: we have strong market positions in large attractive markets with an effective business model and significant opportunities for growth... Operationally, we will remain focused on improving the service to our customers and developing our strategy to gain market share and protect margins. In the current environment, we will remain cautious on the cost base."