Builders merchant and DIY group Grafton has said that trading in November and December was better than anticipated.

In a trading update for the 12 months to the end of December, Grafton said that while markets remain "subdued", it now expects to report full year adjusted operating profits of about £202m.

Grafton said its group revenue from continuing operations increased by 2.7% to £2.67 billion during the year. 

Revenues in the company's Irish merchanting operations during 2019 rose by 5.4% as volumes recovered in the seasonally important month of November.

Grafton said its Chadwicks business also finished the year on a firmer note.

It added that its Woodie's business in Ireland delivered a strong trading performance in the key fourth quarter and for the full year overall. 

Revenues at its Dutch merchanting business soared over 36% on the back of procurement gains and integration benefits.

But revenues at its UK merchanting business fell by 1.1% as households continued to be very cautious about discretionary spending due to the persisting uncertainty there. 

Grafton noted that the weak markets of September and October continued into November and December but did not deteriorate further.

"The group's focus in the UK remains on tight control of costs, driving efficiency and delivering productivity gains," it added.

Gavin Slark, the chief executive of Grafton, saiad that 2019 was a year of significant strategic progress for the group with the acquisition of Polvo in July which increased its scale and consolidated its position in the Netherlands.

"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," Mr Slark said. 

"We are well placed to continue to successfully implement our development strategy supported by very cash generative businesses and a strong balance sheet," he added.