Half year sales fail to stack up at Topps Tiles

Kasmira Jefford
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TOPPS TILES warned yesterday that ongoing challenges in the Eurozone and the UK economy had taken its toll on recent trading, with wary shoppers continuing to put off home improvement projects.

The tiling specialist blamed weak consumer confidence for a 2.6 per cent drop in like-for-like sales in the 8 weeks to 25 May, sending shares down 2.8 per cent yesterday,

Chief executive Matthew Williams said: “People need to feel confident about life and confident in the jobs enough to spend on tiling projects.”

Although customers continue to put off spending, Williams said he was encouraged by signs of improvement in the housing market.

“We are largely positive about the recent housing data as house prices are the perfect measure for our market,” he said, although he warned that this was unlikely to translate into improved trading until the next financial year.

The firm, which also sells flooring and has 320 stores, reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of £4.7m in the first half to 30 March, down 16 per cent from a year ago, but slightly ahead of its recent guidance of £4.3m.

Like-for-like sales fell 0.2 per cent after a tough second quarter undid progress at the start of the year. Total revenue grew 0.9 per cent to £87.4m.

The company is carrying out a number of self-help measures and is targeting £2m of cost-cuttings in the second half of the year to help combat the tough trading environment.