// Topps Tiles sales rise in its first quarter
// The retailer said the latest lockdown will impact trading
// Like-for-like sales rose 19.9% in the period to December 26
Topps Tiles has witnessed a strong sales growth in its first quarter but has warned on the impact of the latest national lockdown.
The DIY retailer saw its like-for-like sales climb 19.9 per cent in the period to December 26, compared to a 5.4 per cent decline in the previous comparable period.
However, it said that changes to store operations during the new lockdown – which begins today – are expected to impact its business.
Under the new lockdown rules, Topps Tiles said it has been advised to close its tile aisles in stores to prevent browsing.
Customers can purchase at the trade counter or online.
“We expect to see an impact on sales during the period of tighter restrictions and trading margins will come under some pressure due to the additional delivery costs associated with higher levels of online sales,” Topps Tiles said.
Topps Tiles’ commercial customers “are seeing a more protracted recovery from the impact of Covid-19” compared to DIY shoppers, but the retailer expects to make progress at its commercial division this year.
Topps Tiles chief executive Rob Parker said: “I am encouraged by our performance over the first quarter, with our retail business performing very strongly 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.
“The business remains well funded, is debt free, has a market leading offer and a clear strategic focus.
“The combination of these factors gives me confidence that Topps is well-positioned for growth as we emerge from the restrictions of the pandemic and the economy recovers.”
Topps Tiles said its balance sheet is in a “fundamentally stronger position” compared with the first national lockdown in spring 2020.
As of December 26, adjusted net cash was £28.5 million.
During the first quarter Topps Tiles repaid a £5 million term loan drawn as part of the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and cancelled an unused £5 million revolving credit facility under the same scheme.