Builders merchant and DIY retailer Grafton Group has said it is benefiting from a surge in spending on construction and home improvements in Ireland.

In a trading update, Grafton reported a fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth in percentage terms in its merchanting business here. 

Grafton also said its Woodies DIY chain traded strongly in 2017 on the back of the growing economy, new and extended product ranges and store upgrades. 

The company said its group revenue increased by 8.8% to £2.7 billion. Its total Irish revenues jumped by 16.2%, while its UK revenues increased by 4.7%.

The company noted that daily like for like revenues in its UK merchanting operations softened - as expected - with trading conditions in the residential renovation maintenance improvement (RMI) market mixed. 

Grafton said that the RMI market was impacted by general economic and household uncertainty and a competitive pricing market.

Revenues in its Dutch operations soared over 49% higher as the broadly based economic recovery there continued to support increased activity in the housing and non-residential construction markets.

Its Belgian revenues were also higher, rising by 7.5%, during the year.

"We are pleased with the progress made across the group during 2017 which reflects the benefits of self-help and strategic initiatives to grow the business," commented Grafton's chief executive Gavin Slark. 

"We enter the new year in a favourable position well placed to implement our growth strategy supported by good cash flow from operations, a strong balance sheet and low net debt," the CEO added.