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AO.com and Topps Tiles report rising sales in a challenging market

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AO World says it’s seeing revenues growing both at home and in its new European markets.

The online electricals retailer, whose AO.com business is a Top50 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, today said it expected sales for the year to March 31 to meet expectations at about £796m – 14% up on the same time last year.

In the UK, revenue is expected to be 8% ahead at £680m, including £606m from AO.com, while its newer European operations, AO.de and AO.nl, saw sales grow by 55% during the year. The retailer said that its UK business had achieved its growth in a competitive market in which it ran fewer promotions than at the same time last year.

Meanwhile, it said its European operations were at “an inflection point” in financial performance, and that it expected to see “further progress as we move forward”.

The update came in the same week that Topps Tiles, a Top100 retailer in IRUK Top500 research and ranked in the Top25 in The Customer dimension, said it had seen revenues reach £109.4m in the first half of its financial year, to March 31, with like-for-like sales up by 0.6% over the period.

But it said that short-term weather factors, around the time of the snowstorms dubbed the Beast from the East, combined with an early Easter, meant like-for-like sales fell by 2.2% in the second quarter of the year. That contrasts with the first quarter, in which sales grew by 3.4%.

Topps says its strategy of “out-specialising the specialist” is working as it increases its range and invests in its Parkside commercial tile business. It is also looking to improve customer merchandising approaches in store, bringing design advice areas into its stores, which totalled 376 by the end of the half-year.

Chief executive Matthew Williams said: “After a strong start to the year, market conditions have become more challenging over the second quarter. While the business has responded well with a performance ahead of the overall tile market, we are retaining a cautious view of market conditions for the remainder of the year.”

Screenshot by Chloe Rigby

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