Belfast Telegraph

Topps encouraged by sales trend

Topps Tiles is poised to achieve a modest rise in annual profits as it benefits from recent signs of a pick-up in consumer confidence.

The UK's largest tile and wood flooring specialist said sales over the final quarter of its financial year were flat on a like-for-like basis, despite the impact of warm weather on trading conditions.

The progress means profits for the 52 weeks to September 28 will be around £13 million, compared with £12.8 million a year earlier.

Chief executive Matthew Williams said there was encouragement for the year ahead after sales declines in the previous two quarters.

He added: "The economy is starting to show signs of a gradual recovery and our business is well positioned to capitalise on any improvements in consumer confidence and increased levels of discretionary expenditure."

Mr Williams has implemented a range of "self-help measures" in order to bolster profits, including £2 million of annual cost savings.

The company is currently trading from 328 stores, having opened 18 stores and closed or relocated 15 during the financial year.

N+1 Singer analyst Mark Photiades said the update was positive news after several forecast downgrades over the past 12 to 18 months.

He added: "Management will be hopeful that this progressive movement will signal a change in direction in terms of earnings momentum and the business can build from here.

"We still harbour some concerns that competition from other specialists - physical and online - and the sheds is building."