Belfast Telegraph

Topps Tiles sales down 4.7% as group battled 'challenging' market

Topps Tiles has pointed to a slowing housing sector and challenging market conditions as it reported another sales slump.

The group said like-for-like sales fell 4.7% in the third quarter as "weaker macro-economic conditions" begin to bite.

Chief executive Matthew Williams said trading in the period reflected "a more challenging" environment, and the group pointed to tough comparatives last year when housing transactions were on the up ahead of stamp duty changes which came into effect in April 2016.

He added: "At the time of our interim results in May we pointed to a more challenging macro-economic environment and this has persisted through the remainder of the third quarter.

"Tougher comparatives resulting from the changes to stamp duty in the prior year were a feature throughout the period and we have seen a modest improvement in trading over recent weeks as they have begun to ease."

On a brighter note, Mr Williams said Topps is evaluating a number of small acquisition opportunities.

Adam Tomlinson, analyst at Liberum, said Topps "remains a clear market leader".

He added: "We expect medium-term growth to be driven by improving UK residential repairs, maintenance and improvement spend, ongoing store roll-outs and the nascent opportunity within the UK commercial tile market."

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