Ceramic and wood flooring specialist Topps Tiles ended a "challenging" financial year with signs of a sales upturn, the company said.

The Wilmslow firm, with nine outlets across the Midlands, reported a rise in like-for-like sales of 1.9 per cent for the past five weeks, against a drop of 1.8 per cent across the year to September 30.

Sales have been under pressure at its 260 stores - including 42 under the cheaper Tile Clearing House name - as homeowners cut back spending on major items such as flooring in the face of higher bills and household debt.

In a trading update ahead of the publication of full-year results on November 28, Topps said it expected to report overall revenue growth of four per cent to £180.2 million with profits little changed at £39 million. In the previous year the group made a pretax profit of £39.2 million.

Pretax profit before exceptional items is forecast at £40.1 million, up from £37.5 million, while like-for-like revenue is expected to be 1.8 per cent below the previous year.

It added: "Although the market remains challenging, the company has seen an improvement over the last five weeks with overall sales increasing by nine per cent and like-for-like sales increasing by 1.9 per cent over the same period last year."

The recent improvement reflected easier comparisons with a year earlier.

Chief executive Nick Ounstead said: "Things are still pretty tough with consumers still being careful about their spending."