Former RHS Chelsea Flower Show sponsor Marshalls sees sales drop 18%

Former RHS Chelsea Flower Show sponsor Marshalls' sales to the public sector and commercial market, which represent 57 per cent of the stone supplier's sales, are down 18 per cent and sales to the domestic market were down 15 per cent compared to the 2008.

Marshalls' revenue for the 10 months ending 31 October 2009 was close to expectations at £277m (2008: £339 million). Underlying daily sales revenue — on a like-for-like basis — was down 17 per cent and similar to construction industry forecasts.

Marshalls chief executive Graham Holden said the last four months had seen a 12 per cent decline in the domestic market but that he was pleased installer order books were up to 8.1 weeks from 7.1 at the end of June.

He said sponsoring Chelsea Flower Show had helped "a little bit on brand awareness". He said garden sustainability, working with children and living streets were messages Marshalls had got over to the public. Holden said he had made no final decision on exhibiting at Chelsea in 2010 but said "unless something changes" Marshalls would not renew its three-year sponsorship deal with the show.

He said industrial, retail and commercial spending were "tough" and the commercial market was competing against better like-for-like comparison than domestic sales, which fell earlier during the credit crunch.

Holden added that Marshalls were "cautious" for 2010 because industry forecasts predict "mid single digit reductions in volume" next year.

Marshalls has a contingency plan to temporarily lay off workers with pay but Holden says reducing capacity has addressed the downturn.


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