Wolseley has posted a 77% drop in pre-tax profits for the year ending July 31, 2008.

The merchant revealed that it had also cut 7,100 jobs over the past 12 months, 450 of which have been in the UK and Ireland. Most of the redundancies have been in US businesses

Wolseley’s pre-tax profits totalled £145m, down from £634m a year ago.

European trading conditions were described as “tough”, with sales up 12.7% and trading profits down by 1.2%. Wolseley’s UK business experienced organic sales growth of 1.8%.

Futher cost reductions will continue to be taken to achieve increased productivity and efficiency.

“Financial discipline in terms of cost reduction and cash flow enhancement remains our primary focus to ensure the group remains compliant with our banking covenants and is well positioned for any market recovery,” said Wolseley group chief executive Chip Hornsby.