Bottom Line: It’s time for Carpetright to put itself right

 
Julian Harris
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Walking away from your labour of love can be a heartbreaking endeavour. Even worse, I’d imagine, when the company that you’ve spent decades building into a retail giant is down in the dumps.

Philip Harris, now Baron Harris of Carpetright, is understandably keen to depart on a high note. After all, he’s been in the carpet business since the 1950s, and deserves to leave a legacy.

Being a football man – Harris is a board member at the Arsenal ­– he will know how tough this can be. Of the Gunners’ greatest managers, one died on the job (Herbert Chapman), one was sacked in disgrace (George Graham), and current boss Arsene Wenger endured a long trophyless run that threatened his reputation.

As is often the case, you can go out in a blaze of glory. And as a football man, Harris knows about the problems of succession – just take a look at Manchester Utd post-Sir Alex.

Carpetright is undoubtedly doing really badly. Its pre-tax loss for the year was £7.2m, compared to a £5.1m loss last year, while total sales fell 2.2 per cent across the group.

The company, therefore, is in desperate need of modernisation and some capital expenditure.

As Harris is a politician – a Conservative peer, in fact – as well as being a football man, he probably knows, to quote Enoch Powell, that all political careers end in failure.

Harris would like to think that his, against the odds, won’t.

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