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Tough times for Topps Tiles

RETAILER Topps Tiles, the country's largest tile and wood flooring specialist, has reported "subdued" trading figures in the last quarter.

The Handforth-based group, which has more than 300 stores nationwide, said like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to July 2 are down 1.9%.

It said there was little prospect of a pick-up in demand in the fourth and final quarter of its financial year, but said it was confident it would achieve its year-end target of having 320 shops - it current has 313.

Retailers such as Topps are being impacted by the moribund state of the housing market and consumers' unwillingness to spend on expensive projects as a result of the squeeze on household budgets.

The home improvements sector has seen several recent business failures including Crewe-based Focus DIY and more recently Manchester-based kitchens and bathrooms group Homeform,

Topps said: "We do not expect to see any material change to trading patterns over the final quarter of the financial year. The business will continue to focus on achieving the efficiencies necessary to drive improved gross margins which will help to offset some of the impact of the challenging environment."

Source : Chris Barry - The Business

13 July 2011
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