Carpetright puts the past behind it as UK sales grow

Adam Hignett
Lord Harris founded Carpetright but left last year
Carpetright appeared to put a dismal four years behind it after yesterday’s interim results showed an increase of like-for-like sales in the UK of 7.5 per cent during the quarter ending 24 January.

Sales growth in the UK was partly offset by losses in Europe, which despite seeing like-for-like sales increase by 1.7 per cent during the period suffered a decline of six per cent in total sales once the impact of a weaker euro was taken into account.

The company, founded by Lord Harris of Peckham, claimed there had been no significant changes to the group’s financial position during the period and reiterated expectations for the year ending 2 May 2015 is for group underlying profit before tax to be between £9.4m and £11m. The company, which has changed chief executive three times since 2011, saw the closure of two stores in the UK during the period and a further two in Europe, leaving the UK’s largest carpet retailer with a total of 598 stores remaining.

The closures are part of a broader strategy to target higher-value customers, open smaller stores and make better use of the internet for sales opportunities.

Chief executive Wilf Walsh said: “In the UK our continued focus on effective promotional activity as well as the introduction of an interest free credit offer from Boxing Day has delivered a like-for-like performance slightly ahead of the level experienced in the first half.”

Broker Cantor Fitzgerald updated its recommendation from “sell” to “hold” on the news. Shares rose 2.5 per cent yesterday.

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