October 5, 2016 / 7:36 AM / a year ago

Sales slide at UK flooring retailer Topps Tiles after Brexit vote

LONDON (Reuters) - British flooring retailer Topps Tiles said sales were growing at a slower rate in the fourth quarter of its financial year, dragged down by weaker consumer confidence following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

Britain’s economy has held up better than expected following the June 23 vote, but surveys have shown consumer confidence took a hit in the immediate aftermath of the referendum.

The tile supplier said it grew sales to a new record in the year to Oct. 1, but indicated market conditions in the final three months had deteriorated.

Like-for-like sales were up 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with the 6.2 percent growth recorded in the previous three months. Sales were up 4.2 percent in the full year.

The retailer, which targets the domestic refurbishment market in Britain, often tracks the wider health of the housing market and can struggle when consumers decide not to move home or splash out on home improvements.

The Bank of England said last week that British mortgage approvals had fallen in August to their lowest level since November 2014, however consumer morale recovered from a post-referendum dip in September according to a GfK consumer survey.

Reporting by Helen Reid; editing by Louise Heavens

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