Published on 29 - May - 2012
Topps sees -4.7% LfL drop in H1 but turns corner with current tradingThe tiling group, which owns 299 Topps Tiles stores and 20 Tile Clearing Houses, saw like-for-like revenue for the 26 weeks ending March 31, 2012 drop by 4.7% to £86.6m, which bosses said was "in line with expectations."
Bosses at Topps are tentatively pleased with its current trading performance
Despite the dip in sales, partly blamed on tougher comparatives in H1 2011, current trading sales indicate a corner has been turned for Topps, with the seven weeks to May 19 showing a LfL boost of 4.5%. This time last year the figure was -2.1%. Chief Executive Matthew Williams called this increase "encouraging" but added that it was "too early to determine whether this marks the beginning of a broader trend."
The company's net debt has also decreased for the H1 period to £46.3m compared with £50m last year. Topps also reported £10m in undrawn banking facilities.
Chief executive Matthew Williams said: "We are pleased to be reporting a first half performance which is in line with expectations, notwithstanding the more challenging comparatives from 2010/11. In the environment f continuing low levels of consumer confidence and housing transactions, we have been, and continue to be, focused on optimising returns from the existing store estate whilst continuing to make the investments necessary to support longer term growth.
"We expect trading conditions for retailers in the discretionary spend sector to remain challenging during the second half. Against this background we will continue to move the business forwards prudently fousing on driving longer term growth, improving gross margins, further promoting our brand and delivering our financial and operational objectives."
A total number of 13 new stores were opened during the period, offset by 14 closures as a result of relocations, brand conversions and lease expiry, giving the group a net decrease of one store, The group added that "new store openings remain an important part of our growth strategy" and it still expects to open five stores a year. So far it has bought one freehold site during the H1 period at a cost of £0.4m.
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