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11 Mar 2021 | 08:03

Marshalls lifts expectations after strong start to 2021

(Sharecast News) - Landscape products company Marshalls reported a decline in full-year profit and revenue on Thursday as it took a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, but lifted its expectations for 2021 following a strong start to trading. In the year to 31 December 2020, pre-tax profit fell to £22.5m from £69.9m in 2019, with revenue down to £469.5m from £541.8m.

Despite the overall decline, revenue in the second half of the year improved strongly and was close to the comparative period in 2019, with fourth-quarter sales ahead of the prior year.

Marshalls said 2021 trading has started strongly, with sales at the end of February up 7% and orders 12% higher compared to the same period a year ago.

The company said it has seen "strong" demand for DIY projects with consumers spending more time at home and choosing to invest in home and garden projects. In particular, there has been a trend towards the "Don't Move, Improve" part of the domestic market.

Marshalls, which did not propose an interim dividend in 2020 due to the impact of the pandemic, proposed a final dividend of 4.30p.

Chief executive Martyn Coffey said: "Although market demand remains uncertain, we remain focused on developing future growth opportunities and delivering the strategic objectives in our 5 year Strategy. Our strategy continues to be underpinned by strong market positions, focused investment plans and an established brand. Marshalls' liquidity is strong and will support our investment priorities going forward.

"Encouraged by the strong trading performance, the board is raising its expectations for 2021."

At 0815 GMT, the shares were up 5.6% at 737p.

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