May 19, 2020 / 7:18 AM / in 9 days

UPDATE 1-UK's Topps Tiles says on improving trend as stores emerge from lockdown

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LONDON, May 19 (Reuters) - British tile retailer Topps Tiles said on Tuesday the coronavirus lockdown had a material impact on trading during April but the gradual re-opening of stores was generating an improving trend.

All Topps’ stores were closed from March 23 when Britain went on nationwide lockdown, though its online business remained in operation.

That business has performed well, with revenues three times pre-crisis levels, said the group.

Since April 22, Topps’ stores have been re-opening. Some 250 currently offer a click and collect service, and of those 130 are also allowing controlled customer entry, with strict social distancing and other protective measures in place.

Topps expects to have 250 stores fully open by the end of May, with the remaining 100 stores open by the end of June.

For the half year to March 28, Topps reported an 85% fall in adjusted pretax profit to 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million), reflecting a tough trading environment even before the pandemic hit, with revenue down 3.7% to 106.2 million pounds.

The group will not pay an interim dividend and said a full year payout was also unlikely, given the trading losses expected from the period of store closures and the trading outlook.

Topps has utilised the government’s job retention scheme to furlough staff and taken steps to reduce costs, preserve cash and boost liquidity.

Shares in the group were down 2.4% at 0712 GMT, extending 2020 losses to 48%. (Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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