- Builders merchanting group Grafton lifted its outlook on profit following a better-than-expected end to the year, though said it remained 'cautious' about the timing of a recovery in the UK merchanting market. Trading in November and December was better than anticipated and while end markets remain subdued, the company said it now expected to report full-year adjusted operating profit of about £202m -- or about £190m on a pre-IFRS 16 basis.

Reported property profit for 2019 was expected to be about £7m, slightly higher than anticipated, it added.

2019 revenue increased 2.7% to £2.67bn on-year and average daily like-for-like revenue increased 1.9%.

Weak markets of September and October continued into November and December but did not deteriorate further, the company said.

'While we remain cautious about the timing of any recovery in the UK merchanting market at this very early stage in the New Year, our expectations for 2020 are positive for the overall group and we are optimistic about growth opportunities, said chief executive Gavin Slark.

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