Marshalls profit hit as sales slow

Published:  12 March, 2010

HUDDERSFIELD: Marshalls, which manufactures paving slabs, bollards and benches, last week reported falling sales as spending on pavements and patios slowed.

Revenues fell 17.6% to £312m, while pre-tax losses for the year to 31 December tightened to £2.4m from £4.5m in 2008.

Underlying operating profit fell 46% to £16.4m after stripping out exceptional costs in both years, which in 2008 included £12m in plant closure fees and a £9m write down.

Graham Holden, chief executive, Marshalls said that the group, which in May launched a £34m rights issue, was braced for at least two or three years of tough trading and could absorb further declines.

In the domestic market, which accounts for about 40% of Marshalls' sales, the company said it was seeing some signs of improvement and reported a slightly stronger order book against the same period last year.

The group was also positive about the early signs of a recovery in the house building market, which is beginning to thaw on the back of improved consumer confidence and better mortgage availability.

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