BOSSES at flooring giant say they have made steady progress - even if the pandemic has affected profits.

Trading at Radcliffe-based James Halstead has seen contracts suffer within the catering and hospitality sectors during lockdown.

But the Hollinhurst Road outfit has been boosted by a focus in the healthcare field, with flooring supplied to 12 modular hospitals in Argentina, 13 in Mexico and 11 in South Africa.

Turnover hit record levels last year at £253m but this is down to £238.6m for the past 12 months, shareholders have been told.

Pre-tax profits, in turn, have gone from £48.3m to £43.9m - a trading update says the firm could reasonably have expected under normal conditions for turnover to be £25m more and profits £7m higher.

The company, which also has a major presence in Teeside, is still forecasting a dividend of 10p per share.

Anthony Wild, chairman, said: "Healthcare has always been an area of core competence for our businesses and alongside the urgent demands of our NHS we have supplied flooring to 12 modular hospitals in Argentina, 13 hospitals in Mexico and 11 hospitals in South Africa.

"The pandemic tested supply chains but across the globe we have supplied from our stock-holdings.

"Notwithstanding these sales our business has suffered as building projects are delayed and it is far from business as usual in many parts of the world."

Mr Wild paid tribute to the contribution of staff, during the pandemic, and commercial rivals for supplying personal protective equipment.

He added: "My thanks go to our staff in the UK and around the world whose hard work continues to allow us to increase our business. This year has been particularly challenging as we all faced uncertainties and a particular mention to those who have worked hard on the safeguards we have.’

Mr Wild said sales, three months into the new trading year, were now a par with previous record performance levels.