Topps Tiles alerts over lockdown sales impact

PA

Retailer Topps Tiles has cautioned over an impact on sales from the latest national lockdown, but cheered recent strong trading thanks to a buoyant DIY market.

The 343-strong chain reported a 19.9% jump in like-for-like sales over its first quarter to December 26 amid surging demand from professional fitters and homeowners.

This marked an improvement on the 16.5% hike in the previous quarter.

But Topps said its stores were closing to browsing during the third English lockdown – despite being exempt – to help limit the risk of transmission, which would impact sales and profit margins.

While it will switch sales online, it said this would come with extra costs due to delivery charges.

It also said the commercial market is recovering more slowly than the retail sector, though it hopes a turnaround plan will drive a bounce-back this year.

Shares fell 2% after its update.

Rob Parker, chief executive of Topps, said: “I am encouraged by our performance over the first quarter, with our retail business performing very strongly, with like-for-like sales up by 19.9%, and our commercial business on track with our plans.

“While the latest lockdown restrictions will impact sales, at this stage it is very difficult to estimate the level of impact or how long this may last.”

Topps has set itself a new market share goal to take £1 in every £5 spent on tiles and associated products in the UK by 2025, with aims to broaden its customer base.

The group – which started life in 1963 – has 343 retail stores across the UK, as well as four commercial showrooms and three websites.

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