Carpetright profit tumbles 28 per cent

Britain's biggest floor coverings retailer, posted a 28 per cent drop in first-half profit as sales were dented by weak consumer confidence and sluggish mortgage approvals.

The firm, which runs 584 stores in the UK and Ireland and 118 in The Netherlands and Belgium, made an underlying pretax profit of £10m in the 26 weeks to 30 October, down from £13.9m in the same period last year.

Group revenue fell four per cent to £248m, with sales at stores open over a year down 6.1 per cent in the UK and Ireland and down 2.9 per cent in The Netherlands and Belgium.

The firm, which ended the period with net debt of £58.5m, is paying a maintained interim dividend of 8.0 pence.

"Whilst we remain cautious about the retail market in the balance of the financial year and throughout 2011, the board has confidence that the group is well positioned to deliver future sales growth when consumer demand in our sector improves," said chief executive Philip Harris.