Marshalls holds firm in rocky times

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LANDSCAPE products group Marshalls reported “encouraging” sales in the last three months despite worries about the economy.

The Huddersfield-based group, which is laying specialist paving at the London 2012 Olympic Games site, said 2011 revenues rose eight per cent to £334m.

Sales to the public sector and commercial market rose nine per cent and sales to the domestic market rose seven per cent.

Marshalls’ chief executive Graham Holden said domestic sales have held up as Marshalls’ customers tend to be relatively well off.

“The consumers we’re dealing with have a house, a drive, a garden. Perhaps they’re not as badly affected. The market is holding up,” he said.

In the public sector Marshalls has turned its attention to areas where money is still being spent such as rail.

“We are doing work on platforms, stations, car parking and the external station environment. There is quite a bit of money being spent on station upgrades,” said Mr Holden.

He added that housebuilders were starting to build more houses as opposed to flats. Houses generally need more paving and patio work than flats.

Marshalls said there is “reasonable” visibility of demand for the first half of 2012 with continuing strength in commercial offsetting weakness in the public sector.