James Latham plc operating profits in the six months were down, but the company saw turnover for the period increase around £2.5m.

Profits for the half were £3.16m as against £4.2m in 2007, but chairman Peter Latham stressed that trading in the period last year had been “exceptional”.

And despite rises in operating costs, partly due to the launch of the company’s Scottish branch and expansion of its Fareham and Dudley operations, Lathams’ revenue rose to £61.88m, up from £59.3m a year ago.

More recently Latham has seen decreases in some market sectors, notably transport and national merchants, but revenue has increased in solid timber products.

“Some sectors remain busy but customers are unwilling to commit forward and are placing smaller orders,” said Mr Latham. “Based on current trading we would expect to meet market expectations for the year but, with the rapidly changing state of the UK economy, it is difficult to predict far ahead.”