Record rainfall in 2012 hits sales across the board at Marshalls

A dip in sales to commercial, public and domestic clients has sent revenues at hard-landscaping company Marshalls down 6 per cent to £279m in the 10 months to November.

The business said record rainfall during the summer months hit revenues across the board. Consumer confidence remained "reasonably stable albeit at a low level". 

Current trading, said the firm, continued to be in line with expectations. Sales to the public sector and commercial end market, which accounted for 63 per cent of business, fell 4 per cent. Sales to the domestic end market, 32 per cent of group sales, dropped 13 per cent.

A survey of domestic installers at the end of this October meanwhile revealed order books of 8.7 weeks, up from 7.8 weeks a year ago but down from 9 weeks in June 2012. 

"Marshalls’ targeted growth initiatives continue to deliver encouraging results and an operational restructuring is being implemented successfully and delivering the expected benefits," said the firm, which hopes to chisel away at its net debt.

The company pointed recent figures from the Office for National Statistics for the total construction output for the last eight months, which indicated a steep reduction of 8.2 per cent. 

"Against this background Marshalls is focusing its sales effort on market sectors where activity is strongest, accelerating cost reduction initiatives whilst continuing to invest selectively in a number of growth opportunities.

"This strategy will provide the group with greater certainty over its performance in a challenging macro environment.  Marshalls retains strong operational and financial flexibility and has the ability to react quickly to changes in market demand."

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