James Latham plc has invested about £300,000 in setting up a new flooring division to further grow its hardwood floors business.

The move is supported by a number of exclusive UK distribution agreements with flooring manufacturers and will involve extensive marketing of the new product portfolio.

John Mitchell, who heads up the division, said the target was to increase flooring sales by about 50% in the first year of operation.

He said: “The market is definitely moving towards value-added products and end users are becoming increasingly discerning.”

Exclusive products introduced to Lathams’ offering include a range of premium engineered timber from Spanish company MH Parquets and a collection of click-system parquet flooring under the brand “Natural Choice”, available in nine colours including European oak, steamed beech and six varieties of stained oak.

A further addition is a solid pre-finished range under the brand “Bausen”, which is being exclusively made for Lathams by a notable flooring manufacturer. Bausen floors will be supplied in 90mm, 120mm and 150mm widths with species including white oak, beech, maple, walnut and merbau.

Every Latham branch will now carry flooring products, available directly from stock, with trained specialists on hand.

As well as marketing, the new portfolio will be supported by point-of-sale materials, product literature, display stands and the provision of a sampling mail out system which will enable customers to request a sample via the Latham website.