Tile Depot wants to double its store portfolio over the next two years after increasing its warehouse capacity.

The tile and stone retailer wants to open 15 stores across London and the Southeast to add to its existing 15 despite the tough trading climate.

Chief executive Rob Gilbert said the retailer was getting itself in shape for the economic recovery and added that like-for-like sales were up 4% for the first two months of this year.

He said: “The market’s tough, it’s hard work, but we’re pretty well on budget. We’re hoping it’s going to ease up in March. We think it will pick up in the second half of this year and we will be well placed when the recovery comes to trade well.”

Tile Depot has expanded its warehouse capacity by nearly 20% to fulfil the supply requirements of the new stores. The re-configuration has also improved efficiency and reduced picking times and damages. It will supply each of its stores with new stock within 48 hours. It has also introduced 26 new product lines in the past two months and expects to bring out a further 17 by the end of the year.

One of its new offerings is a slate-effect tile made of porcelain. “It’s much tougher than slate and doesn’t have to be treated so it has a much better wear quality,” said Gilbert.

“A lot of people want the slate but don’t want to have to bother to treat it, so we’re selling a lot of that.”