Floor coverings supplier James Halstead reported a modest uptick in first-half profits as revenues were held back by weakness in December .

For 2018, pre-tax profit rose 3.3% to £24.5m from a year earlier and revenue was flat at £126m.

'In terms of sales, every month showed an increase on the comparative with the only exception being December, the company said.

'It is clear that, in December, larger customers were exercising stock control - not least evidenced by the fact that whilst order volume in the UK was lower, the number of orders was up 4.8% in the month.'

The Interim dividend was increased to a record 4.0p, up 3.9% frorm 3.85p last year.

'We have supplied flooring to installations as diverse as the Spence Copper Mines in the Atacama Desert in Chile to the Hard Rock Café in Guyana and with profits growth, increased cash and new ranges developing well - a satisfying first half, cemented with a record interim dividend,'

The company said the start to the second half had seen a good increase in sales and our newer ranges continue to increase their market penetration.

'In January we introduced further ranges to the market including our first "loose lay" safety flooring - "QuickLay" and our first fully rigid flooring range - "EnCore Loc". Both have been well received. Against this background I have confidence in our continued progress through 2019m; the company added.

At 10:00am: (LON:JHD) James Halstead PLC share price was +11p at 458p