Topps Tiles predicts upturn despite seeing profit dive in tough trading

TOPPS Tiles yesterday posted a ten per cent fall in first-half adjusted pre-tax profit as consumers curbed spending amid the downturn and said it expected trading in the retail sector to remain tough.

The company, which sells wood and tile flooring from 309 stores in Britain, said total revenue for the first seven weeks of the current period fell five per cent, while like-for-like sales decreased 4.3 per cent.

Chief executive Matthew Williams said: “The economic environment remains challenging for retailers, with consumer confidence and discretionary spending continuing to show signs of weakness.”

He added: “However, we are positive about the future and think we are going in the right direction. We had a very good Christmas but were hit by the bad weather conditions after that.”

For the 27 weeks ended 3 April, the company said its pre-tax profit before exceptional items fell to £7.8m from £8.7m last year.

Revenue rose 4.3 per cent to £91.4m while like-for-like sales were up two per cent.

Williams said: “A pick-up in the housing market will benefit us. One of the strange things is that customers do not seem to be trading down.”

He added: “The more expensive ranges are doing relatively well.”

Singer Capital Markets analyst Mark Photiades said: “We had suspected that there might have been a deterioration given anecdotal evidence of subdued trading in the run up to the general election, and bad weather conditions.”