Carpetright reports signs of sales growth

City A.M. Reporter
BRITAIN’S biggest floor coverings retailer Carpetright’s full-year underlying profit fell by 76 per cent, weighed down by weaker UK sales, the firm announced yesterday.

But FTSE 250-listed shares in Carpetright, which have fallen four per cent over the past 12 months, rose nearly five per cent as investors took comfort from an upbeat outlook and the beginnings of positive results from the firm’s cost-cutting drive

For the full-year ended 28 April, underlying profit before tax dropped to £4m from £16.9m a year earlier.

The company’s UK sales fell about four per cent to £381.6m, with like-for-like sales down 0.2 per cent, as expected following a string of forecast cuts. Total revenue fell three per cent to £471.5m.

Carpetright had issued a series profit warnings over the past 18 months as cash-strapped Britons cut back on discretionary spending, and said low consumer confidence continued to hurt the floor coverings market.

“We are encouraged to see a positive impact from the self-help actions taken during the year, whilst recognising within our plans that economic conditions will remain difficult,” the firm said in a statement.

Singer analyst Matthew McEachran said “there is greater transparency in these results than previously”, which he credited in part to new chief executive Darren Shapland.

“The strategy remains consistent but activity around stores appears to be increasing and there is clearly a drive to grow both beds and other categories,” McEachran added in a note.