Half year profit up at floor coverings firm

James Halstead plc, a manufacturer and international distributor of floor coverings, has reported a reduction in half year sales but a growth in profit.

According to its results for the six months ended 31 December 2023, total sales were down 8.8% to £136.5m from £149.6m in 2022.

Pre-tax profit resulted at £27.4m, up from £23.2m recorded in the previous year.

The decline in sales was primarily due to recessionary pressures in several major markets and delays in the rebuilding of its UK manufactured flooring export markets.

The turnover shortfalls relative to the comparative period were: Europe -15%, Australasia -13% and the UK -5%. The rest of the world showed 4% growth. The key growth areas were South America (+36%), the Middle East (+26%) and the Mediterranean (+22%).

“Our UK businesses (Polyflor and Riverside) fared well with manufacturing efficiencies through increased output more than offsetting the slightly lower sales in the UK,” the group said. “Exports from the UK to our own subsidiaries were much higher than the comparatives (principally Australia, New Zealand and Canada) and will translate into external sales as the stock arrives locally.

“The principal area of sales shortfall against the prior year was in the product group of luxury vinyl tiles which was unsurprising given these ranges cross into the domestic consumer market. In the UK our sales model is to supply product in breadth and depth via the distribution trade whilst maintaining sales communication with the end customer and the flooring contractors.”

As for current trading, the business added in January and February, sales of manufactured goods are in line with last year’s record comparatives and overall, UK activity is showing improved confidence against the last six months.

The Chief Executive, Mr. Mark Halstead, commented: “Against difficult markets we have raised profits and are confidently growing our export of UK manufactured goods across the globe. Once again, we have declared a record interim dividend to shareholders to reward their continued investment.”

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