Travis Perkins, the UK’s largest supplier of building materials and parent to CCF, this week reported a 7% fall in annual core earnings, a second straight fall, and said it remained cautious on the market outlook. However, the Contracts division, which is home to CCF, continues to perform strongly, with all three businesses outperforming their markets.

The Group said adjusted operating profit was £380 million in 2017, which was below analysts’ expectations.

Travis Perkins said it anticipated the mixed market backdrop would continue in 2018. As a result it would focus capital investment behind its key priorities, and slow investments elsewhere. It forecast that 2018’s performance would be similar to 2017.

John Carter, TP’s chief executive, said: “2017 was a challenging year for the Group, with continuing uncertainty in our end-markets, and declining consumer confidence throughout the year. The main focus for our businesses has been to recover the significant cost price inflation encountered and on the whole, this has been achieved successfully.

“Despite the challenging environment, we have continued to make disciplined investments in our customer proposition for the long term. Both the General Merchanting and Consumer divisions were held back by this investment in a higher cost base which ran ahead of volume growth. The Contracts division delivered another excellent performance, with strong revenue growth generating good operating leverage.”