Marshalls sees markets stabilise after reporting rise in 2010 sales

MARSHALLS, the Huddersfield-based paving specialist, saw 2010 revenues rise by four per cent to £323m, but the group revealed that the extreme weather conditions hit sales at the end of year.

The listed company said sales to the public sector and commercial market, which represent nearly two thirds of its business, were up six per cent, while domestic sales were up one per cent, compared to 2009.

Marshalls said: "Underlying sales performance in the second half of the year was encouraging, but the poor weather in the last five weeks of the year offset some of the outperformance with an estimated negative sales impact of approximately 5m.

"These exceptional conditions also disrupted manufacturing in Scotland, the North East of England and our quarrying activities. The estimated operating profit impact from the poor weather was 800,000."

It added: "Cash management remains a central priority with a continuing focus on stock control and the management of capital expenditure ensuring that net debt at December 31 was in line with plan at 67 million."

Looking ahead, Marshalls said its markets have stabilised and the short-term outlook was encouraging, with good order books and positive order flow. It expects an increase in public sector and commercial demand in 2011.

But in contrast, it expects a two per cent fall in the wider construction market this year.