As the struggling economy continued affect construction projects across the country, the UK’s biggest flooring and tile chain has reported flat sales.
The Topps group predicts like-for-like sales will show a rise of 2.1% for the 27 weeks to April 2, which is way below the 5.5% growth after 14 weeks of the first half. Shares in the firm fell by 8% .
“The results across the first half of the year demonstrate that levels of consumer confidence remain unstable and trading patterns during the second quarter have been subdued,” said chief executive Matt Williams.
Singer analyst Matthew McEachran estimated a 1.5% fall in comparative sales since the beginning of 2010, with the winter snow also hitting the business.
“Adjusting for the extreme weather over two weeks of January like-for-like sales have been broadly flat,” he added.
Mr McEachran added that lower expected sales growth this year could wipe as much as £3 million from profit hopes, taking forecasts back to the £16.3 million posted by Topps last year.
The Leicester-based group is currently trading from 309 UK stores, after closing and opening three stores during the first half.
Topps is cautious over prospects for the economy and said it would maintain a “prudent approach” to store expansion this year.
Topps opened its first specialist tile centre in Manchester in 1963.