Topps Tiles PLC (LON:TPT) said it expects a sharp increase in sales when Coronavirus (COVID-19) trading restrictions lift by the middle of April, with margins recovering to more normal levels.

The tiles retailer based this forecast on the strong performance following the end of the first lockdown last summer.

READ: Topps Tiles expects sales, margin hit during new coronavirus lockdown

In the half-year to March 27, revenues dipped 2% to £103mln, with retail like-for-like (LFL) growth of 2%.

In the first 13 weeks, retail LFL sales increased by a fifth but were down 17% in the second quarter because of restrictions.

Within the commercial sector, some market sectors have also been significantly affected by COVID-19, especially the restaurants, bars and leisure areas.

Sales in this segment dropped 10% year-on-year, but forward indicators are positive, with firm orders in hand increasing consistently over the trading period.

“The pertinent question is how much of the 2019 second-half sales base can be won back in the second half this year,” analysts at house broker Peel Hunt commented. 

“The exit from previous lockdowns resulted in double-digit LFL gains on re-opening. Benefiting a strong Repair, Maintenance and Improvements (RMI) market, we suspect Topps will enjoy resurgent Retail and Commercial markets over the second half.”

Shares rose 3% to 70.73p on Wednesday morning.

–Adds analyst comment, shares–

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