- Grafton Group , the international builders merchanting and DIY group, had a better-than-anticipated first half.

The group said it performed strongly in the half year with the benefit of broadly positive market segment conditions and good strategic positioning in key markets.

Group revenue increased by 9.0% to £1.34 billion (six months to 30 June 2016: £1.23 billion) and by 6.2% in constant currency.

Like-for-like group revenue increased by 5.7 per cent.

The group generated a profit of circa £2.0 million in the first half (H1 2016: £3.5 million) from surplus property disposals and full year property profit is expected to be circa £3.0 million (2016: £4.9 million).

Chief executive Gavin Slark said: "We are pleased with the Group's first half trading performance which was better than we anticipated and provides a good platform for the full year.

"Looking ahead, we expect to continue to benefit from both our strong market positions and exposure to multiple geographies and for the positive trends in the Irish and Netherlands businesses to continue in the second half.

"Whilst we remain optimistic on the medium term outlook for the UK, we are cautious about the shorter term impact of current uncertainty and pressure on real incomes which may temper growth in spending on housing RMI."

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