Retailer Topps Tiles takes a battering as homeowners curb DIY spending

Topps Tiles have seen sales take a tumble after homeowners curbed their DIY spending. Pic: Archant

Topps Tiles have seen sales take a tumble after homeowners curbed their DIY spending. Pic: Archant library

Sales for the tile retailer, with seven outlets in Norfolk, have continued to plummet as homeowners tighten their DIY purse-strings.

The firm, which also had a store in Lowestoft, Suffolk and Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, said sales in its second quarter so far have not improved since a dismal end to 2019. Trading was affected then by election uncertainty.

Like-for-like sales in the eight weeks to February 22 dropped 5.5%, following a 5.4% drop seen in the previous quarter.

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Topps warned that its half-year profits were set to come in "significantly" below the previous year, which will impact on its full-year results.

The retailer, with outlets in Norwich; at Mile Cross, Barker Street and Hall Road as well as in Yarmouth, Cromer, King's Lynn and Thetford, expects annual underlying pre-tax profits to be "materially" below market forecasts for between £13.5 million to £14.5 million.

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The tiling chain is hoping for a pick up in the home improvement sector after recent positive house price surveys, though this is unlikely to come until later this year.

Rob Parker, chief executive of Topps Tiles, said: "Trading conditions in our second quarter have remained challenging, reflecting continued weakness in home improvement spending."

He added: "While UK housing market indicators have shown an encouraging improvement in the period since the general election, these traditionally have a lagged impact on our trading and we would not expect to see any benefit from these until later into the second half - our performance during this period will be key to the outcome for the year as a whole."

Topps saw shares take a battering in November when it first revealed the extent of the pre-election impact on trade.

Analysts at Liberum slashed their full-year profit forecast for Topps by around 50% on the back of the latest earnings alert and said they did not expect any improvement in the second half.

"Housing transactions showed a marked step-up in January, but whether this becomes a trend is, as yet, unknown," they said.

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