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Topps looks to commercial sector as retail slips back

ToppsTTopps Tiles is to look for sales growth in the commercial sector after retail sales fell back.

The 359 store chain says it is looking at ‘a number of small acquisition opportunities’ after deciding the commercial sector is ‘attractive’ and wants to increase its market share.
Topps saw like for like sales drop by 1.9% in the six months to 1 April, and has seen adjusted like for sales drop by 5.8% in the seven weeks to 20 May. The previous year saw an 8.4% increase.
‘Our results for the first half reflect the more challenging macro-economic environment we have traded through so far in 2017 and the strong performance we delivered in the corresponding period in 2016 when housing transactions were boosted ahead of the changes to Stamp Duty. While these tougher comparatives begin to ease from the end of June, the key macro indicators for our market are weaker year-on-year and we are taking a prudent view of the second half prospects,’ said Matthew Williams, Topps Tiles ceo.
‘Against this background, we remain confident in the longer term outlook for the business, as evidenced by the 10% increase in the interim dividend. We will continue to focus on executing our proven strategy of "Out-Specialising The Specialists" and to invest in important sources of future growth. In particular, our recently completed analysis of the UK commercial tile market has confirmed it as attractive and we are now evaluating a number of small acquisition opportunities to increase our reach into this part of the market.’
Williams said that profits would be about £21m for the full year, towards the lower range of forecasts.