Independent builders merchant A Thompson & Sons reported pre-tax profits up by 59% in 2009.
Sales at the Sunderland-based merchant - which trades at Thompsons Building Centres and TAPS - fell marginally from £17.4m in 2008 to £13.6m in 2009 - although pre-tax profits rose to £163,000 compared with £102,000 in the previous year.
Profits at TAPS, the group's specialist plumbers merchant branch suffered because of the the set-up costs and initial losses associated with a new branch opening. The company opened two new TAPS branches and pre-tax profits slipped £28,000 to £100,000 on sales of £6.7m
Managing director Anne Ganley says that after two tough years that things are showing signs of improvement. The three Thompson branches at Durham, Sunderland and South Shields are 10% up on last year's revenues and TAPS is likely to hit revenue of £8m this year.
She said: " We were very pleased with the good performance for the turbulent 2009 year at Thompson Building Centres. Equally we were very pleased with TAPS performance during this time although we were £28,000 down from previous year of £128,000.
"We did open two branches and did have the set-up costs and initial losses associated with a new branch openings."
This year got off to a disappointing start but there has been an improvement since, she said.
"January was almost a write-off with all the snow and that created a difficult hole for my teams to climb out off, but by end of June we had caught up and made up for January's shortfall.
"Although the builders' merchants sector is still just better than flat around the country, we are performing better than the sector norm.
"TAPS, however, has not suffered the peaks and troughs that the builders' merchants have experienced, with the boiler scrappage scheme helping the sector."