Grafton, which also operates Jacksons Building Centres, Selco, timber and sheet materials importer L&G Forest Products and Northern Ireland-based merchant Macnaughton Blair, described the figures as strong but measured against weak comparatives owing to the severe weather experienced a year ago.

Grafton’s UK business, which accounts for three-quarters of group revenue, benefited from growth in the housing, repair, maintenance and improvement market and a recovery in the new build housing market.

Selco performed strongly, further developing its market position in the Greater London areas, where 20 of the 34 branches are located.

Grafton’s store implant policy saw the opening of 22 Electricbase operations within Buildbase branches during the first four months, taking the total number of Electricbase implants to 42.

Grafton’s Irish merchanting business also picked up, with total revenue rising 2.9%. Improved demand was driven by ongoing economic recovery including improving employment market trends, a more broadly based geographic recovery in the merchanting market and housing supply shortages in the greater Dublin area.