StockMarketWire.com - Topps Tiles profits slipped in the first half after it incurred start up costs at its new commercial business, though its underlying profits improved.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through March fell 19% to £5.2m, as revenue edged back 0.2% to £110.3m.

On adjusted basis, which stripped out trading losses at the commercial business and property costs, profit rose 11% to £8.0m.

Topps Tiles held its interim dividend steady at 1.1p per share.

Like-for-like sales grew 0.2% and the company said they had improved by 1.2% in the seven weeks to 18 May.

Gross margin rose 90 basis point to 61.2%.

'The group has delivered a resilient first half performance as we continue to consolidate our position as the UK's leading tile specialist,' chief executive Matthew Williams said.

'Against a consumer backdrop which remains challenging, our trading performance was robust, underpinned by further gains in market share.'

'Our commercial tile business continues to grow rapidly, with first half sales more than tripling year-on-year.'

'Expansion of the commercial division was accelerated by the acquisition of Strata Tiles in April.'

'Strata is highly complementary to our existing Parkside commercial business and, together, the two brands provide the group with a strong base for further expansion into this large and attractive market segment.'

'The group has made an encouraging start to the second half, with trading in the period to date continuing the positive trend seen in the second quarter.'

'While we are retaining a prudent view of market conditions for the remainder of the year, we remain confident in our ability to continue to extend our market leading position.'



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