Carpetright hit by Europe woes

Kasmira Jefford
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CARPETRIGHT said yesterday that efforts to turn around its UK business were paying off as it posted a rise in sales, but property writedowns and Europe woes pushed the retailer into a full-year loss.

Chief executive Darren Shapland said self-help measures such as expanding its bed ranges had helped lift like-for-like sales by 2.2 per cent in the year to the end of April.

More than 180 of Carpetright’s 620 stores have been refurbished, with sales up by 10 per cent at those stores.

But underlying sales in Europe plunged 11 per cent after government austerity measures in both the Netherlands and Belgium hit consumer confidence.

The flooring specialist made a loss of £5.1m compared with a pre-tax profit of £13.5m the previous year, mainly due to £14.8m of exceptional charges related to onerous leases and property write-downs. Although underlying profits jumped 143 per cent to £9.7m.

Shapland said the UK was seeing “early signs” of life in the housing market – normally a catalyst for demand for its products – but warned it would be “premature to call a wider recovery in the economy”.

The group also revealed that Andrew Page, the Restaurant Group chief executive, will join its board as an independent non-executive director.