Supplier hit as commercial projects halted and housing sector demand falls 15%

Sales at materials supplier Marshalls have fallen 10% in the past quarter.

Marshalls said demand has dropped most sharply in the housing sector, declining 15% in the four-month period to 31 October compared with last year. Sales in the public sector and commercial markets fell 5%.

The UK firm said demand has fallen sharply since mid-September and that it has been affected by a number of delayed or cancelled commercial construction projects.

In response to the downturn, the company plans to accelerate its cost-cutting programme. Marshalls reported that it saved £4m by closing concrete factories at Cannock and Sawley earlier this year.

In the past quarter, Marshalls acquired a natural stone paving and walling business in south Wales for £5m and a Cotswold limestone business for £7m.

The company said it will pay an interim dividend of 4.55p on 3 December 2008.