DORSET’S world-famous manufacturer of upmarket paint and wallpaper says a weakened housing market and Brexit uncertainty contributed to a slight fall in revenue.

Revenue at the Wimborne-based Farrow & Ball group fell from £83.3million to £82.6m in the year ended March 31, 2018.

But income via the company’s web platforms was up 22 per cent to £6.8m and the company saw increased revenue from mainland Europe and North America, dampened by the weakened pound.

Chief executive Anthony Davey, who joined the business in May, wrote: “In the UK, the company continued to face macroeconomic headwinds due to a weak housing market and economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit.”

Sales in the previous financial year had been boosted by the shipment of products to supply 250 branches of a new stockist, B&Q, skewing the year-on-year comparisons.

In the group’s strategic report, Mr Davey said the whole paint market in the UK had faced uncertainty, “characterised by continued low levels of housing transactions and depressed consumer spending”.

“Despite these unfavourable market conditions, the Farrow & Ball web platform continued to perform strongly, growing revenues by 20 per cent in the UK,” he added.

The company said it had also been affected by the problems of its largest customer, Homebase, which was sold to recovery specialist Hilco and subsequently subject to a company voluntary arrangement (CVA).

Its number of sales outlets grew from 1,396 to 1,750, including 62 of its own stores.

Farrow & Ball said it had new projects in progress under Mr Davey, including the relaunch of its website this month, and investment in growth in core markets.

New colours were launched in September 2018, while Mr Davey had a “new vision for the company which will embed this financial year”.

Mr Davey said: “As with all businesses based in the UK, we have faced macroeconomic headwinds from tough market conditions but nevertheless, we have big growth plans and good distribution networks through all our national retail outlets, showrooms and the new website.

“We are in a strong position to continue to offer our customers an extraordinary and effortless path to purchase and with increased sales in key markets outside of the UK of 7.5 per cent, despite no colour launches in 2017-18, we have strengthened our position as a market leader in the premium paint category.”