How our business works
Wolseley is a distributor, bridging the gap between approximately 50,000 vendors and approximately 1 million customers.
We do this by bringing together a wide range of products that our customers need and providing our vendors with access to these customers cost effectively.
Business and management structure
The Group’s business falls into five geographic regions – the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Nordic region, and Central Europe & France.
Revenue split by region
Within each geography the Group operates a number of distinct business units with strong trading identities, including many with market leading positions in their local markets.
The Group has strong management teams in each region. Business units report on operational performance and strategic progress through regular performance review meetings with senior executives.
The business model offers opportunities for synergies to be achieved by being part of the Group. These include:
- management synergies such as sharing best practice, management development and corporate finance; and
- operating synergies in the areas of joint sourcing, private label development and the sharing of costs and infrastructure
Business unit strategies
Business unit strategies are aligned with our value creation model. Each business unit aims to grow market share faster than the competition through gaining a greater share of its existing customers' business and through attracting new customers. To achieve this each business unit focuses on:
- best customer service;
- best branch employees; and
- preferred vendor relationships.
Underlying this, Wolseley aims to operate the most efficient operating model in the industry, ensuring its distribution activities benefit from national scale and an efficient supply chain. The business units drive operational value through gaining market share, improving productivity, expanding gross margins and improving returns and cash.
In order to give customers greater choice we are developing new business models including e-commerce platforms in most geographies.
The markets for plumbing and heating and building materials are directly exposed to macroeconomic cycles. In 2013/14 the Group delivered improved overall financial results against a backdrop of weak demand in Continental Europe and improved market conditions in the USA.
Although our markets are cyclical, the business model is strong and it is underpinned by demographic trends towards ageing populations, small households and by the ageing of housing stocks.
We supply customers in the new; repair, maintenance and improvement ("RMI"); and civil infrastructure sectors. The exposure to each market differs by geography and by business unit. In 2013/14 demand in the FMI markets grew modestly in most countries. Residential new construction markets were good in the USA and weak in Continental Europe.
Revenue by market sector
Information correct as of 31 July 2014