Like-for-like sales in the UK fell 6.7 percent in January, Headlam said
UK like-for-like sales have fallen in January and February according to Headlam, Britain's largest floorcoverings supplier to the retail trade.


The group warned that sales fell 5.9 percent overall in the first month of 2018, with a more pronounced 6.7 percent decline in UK like-for-like revenue. It said the sales trend continued in February.

Headlam said this was predominantly due to the performance of the residential sector and the adverse impact of a reduction of orders from one of its larger, unspecified, customers.

In mitigation, it said it was up against "very strong" early 2017 comparators, adding that the negative UK performance in January was largely attributable to a very soft first working week following the New Year holiday.

The group — which now operates 63 companies in the UK and and mainland Europe following the acquisition of Dersimo (see related) — is a major supplier to independent carpet and floorcoverings retailers and does significant business with mobile carpet fitters who sell direct to consumers.

Headlam is following on from revenue growth of 2.0 percent to £707.8 million for the 12 months to December 31, 2017, during which pretax profits jumped 6.7 percent to £40.7 million as it turned its attention to expanding margin.

This "greater focus on profit rather than top-line growth, with organic revenue growth being a lesser contributor to the company achieving its overall plans and expectations" meant its 2018 expectations remain unchanged despite the weaker markets, Headlam said.

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