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10-1: James Halstead to ASOS

10. JAMES HALSTEAD

Flooring specialist James Halstead (JHD) may have suffered from the tough trading conditions in the last six months of 2013, but it is still on course to deliver its 38th successive year of dividend increases, a testament to the board’s confidence in the business model. In fact, a rather dreary performance towards the calendar year end, as customers ran down inventories at a typically slack time of the year for business, was reversed in January, when sales grew by 8 per cent from a year earlier. Fortunately, sales in the UK, which account for around 35 per cent of group turnover, have held up pretty well, gaining 5 per cent, and double digit gains have been registered in Spain and Canada. Set against this, nearly a fifth of group sales are made in Australia, and sales here are just treading water as government-led refurbishment spending tracks sideways.

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