Bad weather hits Marshalls' sales for £10m

Bad weather has put a damper on trading at Marshalls, knocking off around £10m of sales, says the market-leading paving company.

"After a good first quarter the exceptionally poor working conditions in April continued through to the end of June," said the company, which also saw its debt nudge up.

Marshalls’ revenue for the six months ended 30 June was 5 per cent down against a year ago and was £167m. Appalling weather knocked off around £10m in sales in the second quarter, which was equivalent to six days’ installations.

Underlying sales to the public sector and commercial end market, accounting for about almost two-thirds of sales, were 2 per cent below last year but broadly in line with expectations.

Sales to the domestic end market, for which the second quarter of the year is an important trading period, were hit by the rain and dropped 14 per cent compared with the year before.

However, continued progress had been made in developing the international business, which now represented 5 per cent of group revenues. An £8m investment in Belgium pushed net debt up to £84m against £71m last year.

"In response to continuing uncertainty the group is implementing a wide range of contingency measures: reducing costs, reducing inventories and conserving cash to mitigate the impact of the reduced sales.

"The group, nevertheless, continues to invest selectively in initiatives that deliver sales growth. Improving market positions include street furniture and security products, internal paving and water-management products."

Marshalls cited a 2.9 per cert reduction in UK construction output this year, forecast by the Construction Products Association and an estimated resumption of growth in 2014.

"Encouragingly, the survey of domestic installers at the end of June 2012 revealed order books of nine weeks against seven weeks last year and 7.5 weeks at the end of April 2012. This was caused in part by a bad-weather-related backlog of work."

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