Carpet-maker Victoria PLC has seen first quarter revenues fall by 13.8 per cent as spending in the UK and Ireland remained depressed.
In a statement following the firm’s annual general meeting, chairman Alexander Anton said conditions remained challenging for the Kidderminister company in the three months to June 4 – and there were no signs of improvement.
The firm, which employs about 700 people, was mainly hit by a 16.2 per cent drop in UK sales and a 59.2 per cent fall in revenues from Ireland, although sales in Australia were stronger, a 6.9 per cent down.
Mr Anton said: “We anticipated that the first-half of the group’s current financial year would be challenging with no expectation of any market improvement.
“The first quarter in what is traditionally the quieter seasonal half-year period saw, if anything, a further weakening of trade in the UK and a significant further downturn in the Irish market.
“Trade in Australia remains extremely competitive. As a result, the group’s revenues for the first quarter were down by 13.8 per cent, and gross margins declined from 28.4 per cent to 25.3 per cent.”
Victoria’s revenues were down by 17.1 per cent on a constant currency basis across the period.
Mr Anton said despite the sharp fall in UK sales gross margins had improved as a result of restructuring measures, but the Irish market was depressed.
He said: “With there being little likelihood of any short-term improvement in market conditions, the group has moved to restructure its business to bring its cost base in-line with the lower level of anticipated sales.”