With first-half results to March 29 revealing a 16 per cent pre-tax profit fall and like-for-like sales down 0.9 per cent, Topps Tiles is not proving immune to the housing downturn, writes John Ryan.

Like-for-likes have fallen 3 per cent in the first six weeks of the second half and the shares are a third of the price they were this time last year.

Topps Tiles chief executive Matthew Williams described the retail environment as “genuinely tough”, but said the retailer has the advantage of being the market leader.

Kaupthing analyst Matthew McEachran warned that Travis Perkins is “breathing down” Topps Tiles’ neck and that this could result in the shares languishing at a low level.

However, Landsbanki rated the stock a “buy” on the basis that a contracting housing market could result in increased share for Topps as smaller players struggle.