April showers mean slow progress for materials suppliers

Travis Perkins, the builders' merchant, said yesterday that April's showers has hit demand . "After a good first quarter, record levels of rainfall contributed to a weaker performance in April and the early part of May, where activity levels at sites continue to be impacted by the very wet weather," it said.

But the FTSE 250 building materials supplier still saw revenues for the four months to May rise 4.4 per cent on a year earlier. Sales were boosted slightly by the acquisition in January of Toolstation, a smaller British rival.

The chief executive, Geoff Cooper, said: "We are pleased with the good progress in the first quarter."

Rain stopped play elsewhere in the building industry, with Eric Gadsden, the chairman of Michelmersh Brick Holdings, saying that bad weather in February "resulted in lower-than-expected sales volume" at the brick maker for the first quarter.

He said, however, that brick prices were showing signs of an increase because competitors had closed down. "Competition is fierce for every order, but we are holding our own," Mr Gadsden added. He also hinted that acquisitions could be on the horizon.