Merchanting and DIY Group Grafton – the owner of brands such as Woodies and Chadwicks – has reported total revenue for the year of £2.95 billion, an increase of 9% on 2017. 

Grafton said its pre-tax profits for the year amounted to £188.4m – an increase of 20%.

The company has proposed a dividend of 18 pence, up 20% on the previous year's dividend and marking the sixth year in a row of double digit growth.

"Grafton continues to benefit from exposure to the fast growing Irish and Dutch markets and from strong underlying demand fundamentals in the UK market," the company's chief executive Gavin Slark said.

"The group's excellent cash generation from operations, good liquidity and strong balance sheet should continue to support the development of the business," he added. 

Looking ahead, Grafton said that the merchanting and DIY markets in Ireland should continue to benefit from the positive outlook for the economy, although some moderation in the pace of growth in consumer spending is expected.