- Group revenues at floorcoverings distributor Headlam rose by 8.9% in the first four months of the year as it maintained the improving trend seen in the final quarter of 2013.

UK revenues increased by 11.1% with like-for-ike performance improving by 8.9%.

Headlam says comparatives are calculated by reference to a weak period in 2013 which was influenced by particularly unfavourable weather during the first two months and lacklustre markets during months three and four.

It says anecdotal evidence relating to the UK floorcovering market points to a slightly more buoyant environment. Whilst the weaker comparatives are a flattering factor and the increased activity in the UK market during the first four months has been contributory, there is no doubt that the UK business has continued to grow market share during this period.

It says: "Despite the more positive trading environment, the market in the UK still remains very competitive and as a consequence, despite our continued efforts, gross margin improvement continues to be hindered. Compared with the period in 2013, gross margin has fallen by 50 basis points.

"On the continent, where markets remain difficult, revenue from our Dutch and French businesses increased by 3.2% and 2.3% respectively. However, these improvements were offset by a weaker performance from our Swiss business whose revenue contracted by 3.6%, leaving the aggregate performance across the three territories, on a constant currency basis, up 0.5%.

"As with the UK, the continental businesses have also seen a collective fall in gross margin during the period equating to 30 basis points."

Group chief executive Tony Brewer said: "The group's improved trading experience during the first four months has been very encouraging particularly since in the UK, momentum has continued into May.

"Given the performance to date, the board are cautiously optimistic that the group's internal financial objectives for 2014 could be exceeded. The cautious sentiment is due to a demanding second half objective and a need for floorcovering markets to show continued improvement. We look forward to reporting on our progress for the first six months of the year on 22 August 2014."

At 8:37am: [LON:HEAD] Headlam Group PLC share price was +16.38p at 489.13p

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