Grafton Group has reported a 6% rise in UK merchanting sales for the year to October 2010.
While Irish merchanting sales continued to fall, the company said the rate of decline continued to ease as the year progressed.
However, continuing economic decline in Ireland was highlighted by a 7% sales drop for the company's retailing businesses, operating in Ireland, during the same period.
The group's profitability in Q3 was well ahead of last year, and this trend has continued into the fourth quarter, said Grafton. The interim management statement released last week said: "Grafton's financial position remains strong with good liquidity and positive cash flows from operations. A good base has been established from which renewed growth in earnings can be generated over the coming years as market conditions normalise."
The company's retailing arm includes 41 stores in Ireland, trading under the Woodie's DIY and Atlantic Homecare brands.