Topps Tiles' profits soar thanks to daring DIY-ers
Decorators becoming more adventurous has helped fuel a surge in annual profits, the boss of Topps Tiles believes.
Matthew Williams, chief executive of the Enderby tile and wood flooring chain, said not only were people investing more in their houses because of the stagnant property market, they were carrying out more-daring DIY projects.
"There's a real drive towards people becoming more adventurous with their tiles, more fashion and design-aware," said Mr Williams.
"It's quite counter-intuitive because you think when times are hard people would be less adventurous.
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"But I think it's a lot to do with the fact they are not so worried about offending potential buyers and they want their place to look nice because they know will be staying there for the next few years."
Topps Tiles yesterday reported pre-tax profits in the 12 months to September 29 had risen to £12.5 million, compared with £7.9 million the previous year.
The performance represented a turnaround for the company after a 22 per cent fall in pre-tax profits in the six months to April.
Like-for-like sales – which only include stores open for at least a year and which are seen as a key indicator – rose by 3.5 per cent during the second half of the year.
Full-year like-for-like sales were up 1.3 per cent.
Mr Williams said the second-half sales boost was mainly down to people carrying out improvements to their properties instead of moving house.
He said the group's position as the UK's leading specialist tile retailer had helped it take advantage of this trend.
"To have a 3.5 per cent rise in the second half of the year was a market-beating performance," he said.
"We have focused on being the authority in what we do – selling tiles and wood flooring, whereas the others are more generalists."
Group revenue rose to £177.7 million, from £175.5 million the previous year.
Adjusted profits, which take into account one-off gains and costs, were £12.8 million, a drop from 2011 when the figure was £13.9 million.
Topps Tiles, which has its headquarters in Grove Park, Enderby, has 324 stores and employs 1,600 people nationally, including about 200 in Leicestershire.
Bosses have invested £6.5 million in the business this year, including opening five stores and refurbishing a further 18.
They plan to open another five stores next year.
See the Topps Tiles website at www.toppstiles.co.uk