Carpetright suffers a 72 per cent drop in profits with little sign of recovery

CARPETRIGHT, Britain&rsquo;s biggest carpet retailer, yesterday said normal trading conditions would not resume for at least 12 months as it posted a 72 per cent slump in full-year profit and slashed its dividend.<br /><br />The group reported an underlying pre-tax profit of &pound;17.2m in the year to 2 May. This compares with analysts&rsquo; consensus forecast of &pound;18m, and with &pound;62.1m the year before. Total revenue fell 7.4 per cent to &pound;482.8m, with like-for-like sales down 13.5 per cent in UK and Ireland.<br /><br />The group, which ended the year with net debts of &pound;97.1m, cut its final dividend to 4p from 30p.<br /><br />Chairman and chief executive Lord Harris of Peckham, said: &ldquo;People have got a little bit more money in their pockets because interest rates are down, fuel prices are down ... They&rsquo;re not spending money on cars, they&rsquo;re not spending money on holidays and normally that&rsquo;s very good for us.&rdquo; He added: &ldquo;But the thing that everyone&rsquo;s worried about is their job.&rdquo;<br /><br />Harris, a 51-year industry veteran, estimated the overall UK carpet market was currently down at least 20 to 25 percent year-on-year but said Carpetright was winning a greater share.<br /><br />His view chimed with comments last week from British electrical retailers DSG International and Kesa Electricals which both reported slumps in profit and gloomy outlook statements.