Topps Tiles has enjoyed a strong start to its new financial year, with the recovering housing market generating better-than-expected sales.
The UK's largest specialist tile and wooden flooring retailer reported a 9.3% rise in like-for-like sales in its first quarter to December 28 2013, surprising analysts who had predicted a 6 to 7% increase.
The company, which has 328 stores, is benefiting from a boost in house building and home renovations, driven in turn by the government's Help to Buy scheme. Mortgage approvals in November were at their highest level for over five years.
Same-store sales at Topps in the equivalent period a year ago were just 1.6% up.
Commenting on the latest results, chief executive Matthew Williams said: "Topps traded strongly over the first quarter, with an acceleration in like-for-like sales growth over the final month of the period.
"Whilst we are encouraged by this and remain optimistic about prospects for 2014, at this early stage in the year we remain cautious of projecting forward this level of performance. Trading over the second quarter will be key in this regard."