Topps Tiles today said that it expects to have all its stores open by the end of June as it continues to navigate the coronavirus crisis.
All of its shops closed from March 23 to safeguard customers and staff, and initially 90% of staff were furloughed. Since then, said the tile retailer, it has made progress in starting to reopen the business. Currently 250 shops are offering a click and collect service, with 130 also allowing customers to shop under protective measures including strict social distancing. The measures are expected to extend to all 250 of those stores by the end of May and the remaining 100 shops are expected to open by the end of June.
Since Topps Tiles’ website was relaunched it has seen revenues at three times pre-crisis levels – but overall retail sales have fallen significantly during a period of store closures.
Rob Parker, Topps Tiles chief executive, said: “Covid-19 has created a complex and extremely challenging trading environment and I am pleased by the way the group has responded to this crisis so far. We are prioritising the safety of our colleagues and customers, protecting the business and working hard to ensure we emerge from this period in the strongest possible position. The strong growth of our online business, the development of a collection-only store model, and the encouraging initial customer response to our phased programme of store re-openings, all demonstrate our resilience in the face of the Covid-19 threat.”
The tile retailer turned over £106.2m in the six months to March 28, down by 3.7% on the same time last year. But, under the new IFRS 16 accounting system, pre-tax losses at the bottom line came in at £4m, down from £5.2m a year earlier. Under previous accounting measures, the half-year loss would have come in at £0.4m but the write-down of assets, property, plan and equipment related to store closures that had been planned before the onset of Covid-19 pushed it over. Like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of openings and closures, were down by 6.1% over the half-year. Pre-lockdown sales were down by 4.3% as a result of the challenging trading environment.
Topps Tiles is ranked Top150 in RXUK Top500 research and says it has strengthened its financial liquidity in recent weeks with a £10m loan facility backed by the government’s large business interruption loan scheme. It trades from 360 shops, down from 362 a year earlier.
Image: Screenshot of toppstiles.co.uk