Marshalls lifts forecasts after home improvement boom
Marshalls has raised its forecasts for the full year after a boom in Brits carrying out home improvements drove the landscaping firm to a record start to the year.
The London-listed firm posted a 13.5 per cent drop in revenue in 2020 to £469.5m, driven largely by a sharp slump in sales in the first half.
But trading began to recover in the second half, with fourth-quarter revenue ahead of the previous year.
At the end of February sales were up seven per cent and orders rose 12 per cent year on year, prompting the paving specialist to hike expectations for 2021.
Marshalls, which has paved London landmarks including Trafalgar Square and South Bank, said it will pay a final dividend of 4.3p per share after repaying all government Covid support.
The Yorkshire-based firm said the improved performance was due to booming demand for home improvement projects such as patio and driveway installations.
Marshalls, which is currently working on Crossrail and the Oxford Street pedestrianisation project, said it will invest a record £30m in its operations this year.
This includes a flagship dual block plant in St Ives in Cambridgeshire, which is set to be the first facility of its kind in the UK.
Chief executive Martyn Coffey said: “Trading has started strongly in 2021. Although market demand remains uncertain, we remain focused on developing future growth opportunities and delivering the strategic objectives in our five-year strategy.
“Our strategy continues to be underpinned by strong market positions, focused investment plans and an established brand.”
Marshalls posted pre-tax profit of £22.5m in 2020, down from £73.7m in the previous 12 months.
Reported net debt stood at £75.6m at the end of the year. Marshalls said this was significantly better than expected and came after the repayment of £9.4m of furlough and £11.3m of deferred VAT in the final quarter.