Enderby retailer still confident despite sharp sales drop

The boss of Topps Tiles has claimed the chain is still out-performing rivals despite a sharp drop in sales in recent weeks.

The Enderby tile and wood flooring retailer yesterday reported a 10.4 per cent fall in revenue for the past seven weeks. This was a dramatic deterioration on the 1.9 per cent fall seen in the 13 weeks to July 2.?

Chief executive Matthew Williams spoke to Leicester Mercury and blamed the fact that shoppers had cut spending because of fears over a possible double dip recession brought on by the eurozone and US debt crisis. The company, the UK’s leading tile specialist, said profits were now likely be lower than previously forecast.

“Consumer confidence has taken a hit,” said Mr Williams. “If you’re thinking ‘I’m going to re-tile my kitchen or bathroom’ and people are saying there’s going to be a double dip recession, is that going to help? No it isn’t.”

However, Mr Williams said the downturn in spending was hitting competitors a lot harder, and predicted many smaller operators could be put out of business.

“The information we are getting from our suppliers is the market on the whole is down 15 per cent, so we are out-performing the market” he said. “The positive thing for us is it will sort out a lot of competitors who have been limping around for the past few years.

“The market will recover and I’m pretty sure we will have a lot fewer competitors when it does.”

Mr Williams said it was still committed to plans to increase store numbers, which will climb to 320 by the end of next month. He has a target of 400-plus stores in the medium to longer term.

The group has just built a 50,000sq ft warehouse next to its head office in Grove Park, Enderby.

The £3 million depot, which compliments an existing 100,000sq ft of storage space at the same site, replaces a warehouse in Stoke. The company employs 200 people in Leicestershire and 1,600 nationally.

Analysts have revised down their profit forecast for the year to September 30 to £15.6 million, compared to £16 million previously.

Leicester Mercury

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