Marshalls hit by wet weather after second-quarter DIY sales slump 14%

Paving stone maker Marshalls yesterday warned of job cuts as it reported a £10 million hit from the poor weather.

The group, which has sites across the UK including one in Falkirk, said some of its 2,300 employees would be impacted by plans to save £4m a year to tackle sliding sales.

It revealed sales to the home improvement market slumped by 14 per cent in the second quarter – usually a key trading period for the group – after record rainfall saw projects put on hold.

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Overall revenues in the six months to 30 June were down 5 per cent down on a year earlier, at £167m, following the second quarter knock. Huddersfield-based Marshalls, which makes stone and concrete products for the construction, domestic and landscaping markets, is restructuring the business to cut costs, with £1m in savings due by the end of 2012.

Chief executive Graham Holden said all areas of the business were being looked at to make cost savings. Job losses are expected to affect only a “small percentage” of its workforce he added.

Panmure Gordon lowered its expectations for pre-tax profits by £2m to £10.5m, following downgrades in May when Marshalls first revealed the impact of wet weather on sales.

But Chris Millington, analyst at Numis Securities, said: “Whilst it is disappointing to downgrade estimates, we believe that the tough trading environment will be impacting Marshalls competitors at least as much which means that the group should emerge as the clear winner in its industry.”