CARPETRIGHT rolled out another improvement in sales today as its turnaround strategy of store refits and expanded ranges continued to pay off.

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With 122 of its 476 stores now modernised, the floor coverings retailer said like-for-like sales were 3.2% higher in the UK in the 13 weeks to January 26.

This was faster than the rate of 0.7% seen over the previous half-year, although Carpetright’s progress in the UK has been offset by more dismal trading in the rest of Europe, where like-for-like sales were down 11.5%.

As the company enters the peak spring season for home improvements and house moves, recently-appointed chief executive Darren Shapland said the company was on track to meet profit expectations for the year.

It made profits of just £4million in its most recent financial year, compared with £62m in 2008.

Mr Shapland took over from veteran boss Lord Harris of Peckham early last year and has stepped up “self-help initiatives” such as store refits and the roll-out of its bed business and laminate range to more stores.

By the end of the financial year in April Carpetright expects to have 180 stores, 40% of the current UK store estate, under the new look, with a more contemporary feel that is easier for customers to shop in.

Outside the UK, the company has seen continued sales weakness in the Netherlands, where it has 95 stores, against solid performances in Belgium and Ireland. As a result, total group sales were down 1.6% in the quarter.

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