Wet weather is drag on Marshalls

The paving specialist Marshalls lost the equivalent of six days' slab-laying because of the torrential rain in the first six months. That knocked revenues by £10m, or 5 per cent, to £167m on a year ago. The company is upping cost-cutting, including job cuts, which will cost £7m this year but should result in annual savings of at least £4m.

Marshalls said sales to the public sector and commercial end of the market, which account for almost two-thirds of its sales, were down 2 per cent but on the patios and drives domestic side they fell 14 per cent. Construction is set to fall this year and next but the latest survey of domestic installers shows their order books have risen from seven weeks' worth of work to nine weeks'.