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Topps Tiles warns of hit to sales from new lockdown

·1-min read
Products are displayed on sale at a Topps Tiles store

(Reuters) - Tile retailer Topps Tiles Plc warned on Wednesday the new lockdown in England, which has shut the company's stores for browsing in the country, is expected to hit sales and margins.

The British company, which has over 340 stores nationwide, also said its retail like-for-like sales rose 19.9% in the 13 weeks ended Dec. 26, helped by demand from professional fitters and homeowners, with Britons taking on more do-it-yourself (DIY) projects during the pandemic.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week ordered England into a new national lockdown to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases under which non-essential shops and hospitality would have to remain closed.

"While the latest lockdown restrictions will impact sales, at this stage it is very difficult to estimate the level of impact or how long this may last," Chief Executive Officer Rob Parker said.

Customers can continue purchasing at the counter and online in England, the company said, but added that its margins will come under some pressure due to the extra delivery costs associated with higher online sales.

Topps Tiles also said that the markets served by its commercial business, which has taken a hit due to the coronavirus-led disruptions in the construction industry, were seeing a slower recovery compared with the domestic repair, maintenance and improvement sector.

But the company expects to make progress in its commercial business this year while saying that it was now debt-free.

(Reporting by Priyanshi Mandhan and Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)