Sales at Barratt, the UK’s second-largest housebuilder, fell by up to10% last week as consumer confidence was hit by the run on Northern Rock. The Daily Telegraph. The Times. The Independent. The Guardian. Financial Times
Chief executive Mark Clare said: ‘Normally it is a story of an upward trend between week 11 and week 18 [of the financial year], the key selling season. But in week 11 and especially on the Saturday, the day the big events occurred at Northern Rock, visitor numbers dropped and there was a 5%-10% fall in sales.
‘We watched the television and the media and saw what happened to our numbers last week and assume that Northern Rock is why.
‘The cumulative effect of interest rises has caused some slowdown but that is something very different from what happened last week.
‘The expectation is that this will reverse quite quickly because market fundamentals remain strong, but we don’t know when and we have to assume that there will be downward pressure on volumes and price inflation.’
Barratt announced a strong set of results for the year to 30 June, boosted by two months of contributions from Wilson Bowden, which it bought for just over £2bn in April.
Profit before tax and after restructuring costs of the acquisition rose by 9.3% to £427.8m and a dividend of 35.68p, up 15%, was recommended. Total sales rose 25.3% to more than £3bn.