Robust sales keep Topps Tiles on course

The UK’s largest tile and wood-flooring specialist retailer reported robust sales today as homeowners focused on indoor improvements during the recent wet weather.

Topps Tiles, which has 322 UK stores, reported a 2.1 per cent rise in like-for-like sales during the 13 weeks to June 30, compared to a 1.9 per cent fall last year.

The improvement came during the wettest April-to-June period on record, which benefited the retailer as its customers were more willing to work on DIY projects.

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The group, which reported a 23 per cent fall in adjusted pre-tax profits to £5.6 million in the 26 weeks to March 31, said it is line to meet full-year market expectations.

The current market estimate for adjusted pre-tax profit for the year to September 30 is £13 million, compared to £13.9 million last year.

The Leicester-based group, which also trades as Tile Clearing House, opened three new stores in the quarter and said it continues to target a total of 325 stores for the full year.

Matthew McEachran, retail sector analyst at Singer Capital Markets, said underlying figures actually showed “volatile” trading in the most recent six weeks of the period.

Mr McEachran estimates that like-for-like sales fell 0.7 per cent in the last six weeks.

He said: “The Jubilee weekend was a significant drag on trade, but we understand that the run rate over the most recent three weeks has improved.”

Shares have risen around 50 per cent to 38.8p since the start of the year, giving a market value of £74.3 million, but Mr McEachran said this valuation “feels too rich”.