Enderby based Topps Tiles to launch ’boutique’ stores

Matthew Williams

Topp’s CEO Matthew Williams

The national tile retailer, founded in 1963 and based at Grove Park, Enderby, is piloting three of the smaller stores early next year and could extend the concept if it proves successful.

In its annual report, the D.I.Y. giant announced that revenue from its 327 stores and website was £177.8 million in the year to September 28 – that was up from £177.7 million the previous year.

The results showed adjusted pre-tax profit rose from £12.8 million to £13 million in the year.

Like-for-like sales – which ignore new shops – slipped 0.5 per cent, although the company said they had actually jumped 7.4 per cent this month and last.

Chief executive Matthew Williams is reported as saying* the business finished the year with three more traditional larger stores and another five openings planned for the current trading year.

He said the 1,000sq ft Boutique stores would all be in southern England – in Walton-on-Thames, Clapham and a third site yet to be signed off.

A report on the Leicester Mercury website reads:

[Matthew Williams] said: “We are still keen to expand. There’s nothing broken with our store model, the only constraint is the availability of sites for the 5,000sq ft format – so we are developing the new format.

“We still like the traditional 5,000sq ft warehouses on main arterial roads, but we have to be realistic that in some places those types of properties are not readily available.

“Squeezing into these smaller sites means trimming down to about half the existing range, focusing on inspirational design and not carrying cash-and-carry stock.

“Getting a 5,000sq ft warehouse in Mayfair, for instance, isn’t really going to happen and this is about getting Topps Tiles in front of more people.”

Mr Williams said sales and profits increased “modestly” last year while analysis of the period suggested the overall market had actually declined.

Topps Tiles, he said, had seen its market share grow to 28.5 per cent from 27 per cent in 2012 – thus continuing its average annual growth rate of 1 to 1.5 per cent.

Chief financial officer Rob Parker said they believe the business could eventually have one-third of the UK tile market.

Mr Williams said: “We have successfully achieved our primary goal of growing profitable market share this year.

“We have made a strong start to the new financial year, with like-for-like sales ahead by 7.4 per cent in the first eight weeks. While it is too early to confirm that this is a sustained trend, we are encouraged.

“Shareholders can be confident that Topps remains well positioned to capitalise on any further improvement in the UK housing market.”

Topps Tiles has about 1,700 staff across the UK and 250 in Leicestershire.

New stores in Loughborough and Market Harborough were both said to be doing well.

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