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Housing slump slices £15mill off BSS sales

Specialist trade distributor BSS has announced the residential new build housing downturn cost the company around £15million in sales in the first half of the financial year.

Despite this setback the company still saw profits before tax rise by 11.4 per cent to £29.3million for the six month period ending on 30 September - compared to the same period last year.

Its interim results showed that revenues were up 9.9 per cent to £685.9million with organic growth at 6.6 per cent, but the company says it is expecting “tougher market conditions” in the coming year.

In preparation for the expected recession the company says it is keeping costs tightly controlled and has already taken action to reduce costs in the second half of the year.

It also insists the recessionary market offers new opportunities and is committed to expanding its store network as long as the financial case it strong.

Gavin Slark, group chief executive, said: “Growth initiatives and a focus on serving repairs and maintenance markets have offset the impact of a weaker construction sector.

“Despite a deteriorating economic outlook we believe that we can continue to make progress in the second half.”

The company saw a particularly strong performance in the industrial division where with operating profits increasing by 23.1 per cent to £16.5mill on revenues of £188.7mill.

The report said: “Many of our customers have full order books and funding in place to support specific projects and the Division remains confident sales momentum can be maintained, albeit at a slower rate than the first half.”