Marshalls, major suppliers of York stone paving and other stone, clay and concrete products, saw profits increase by 13% to Â£26.1million on turnover up 9% to Â£159.9million in the first six months of the year.
During the period Marshalls pulled out of the reconstituted bespoke artstone market, closing their works at Bridgend.
Their Landscaping Products Division started developing the new concept of Service Centres. The first two are at Eaglescliffe and Falkirk. They expand the range of products being sold by Marshalls, which resulted in a considerable uplift in trading, according to Christopher Burnett, Marshalls\' chairman.
A wider selection of products will gradually be added to all the division\'s sites, creating a network of Service Centres across the country. A 14 acre site in the west of London was due to be bought in September to open as a service centre next year.
Marshalls have also established a register of approved landscapers and have embarked on consumer advertising to try to persuade the public to use them.
The emerging businesses division, which covers natural stone, pre-cast flooring, drainage products, street furniture and internal flagstones, was created as a separate division last year. Since then profit has increased by 24% to Â£4million on turnover up 9% to Â£21.8million.
Marshalls\' shareholders have been calling for the company to expand by increasing its gearing, currently at just 4%. In his statement Burnett says Marshalls have a very strong balance sheet capable of funding both acquisitions and the capital investment needed by our plans.