Profits slump at retailer Carpetright

Floor coverings retailer fails to tap into recovering housing market as profits fall by 53 per cent

Carpetright, Britain's biggest floor coverings retailer with 20 stores across Ireland, posted a 53 per cent slump in annual profit, failing to tap-in to the country's improving housing market.

The firm, which has issued three profit warnings in the last nine months, said on Tuesday it made a profit before tax and one off items of £4.6 million (€5.8 million) in the year to April 26th. That was in line with guidance for profit in a range of £3.5-5.5 million, issued in March, but down from £9.7 million pounds made in the 2012-13 year. Revenue fell 2.2 per cent to £447.7 million.

Carpetright trades from 472 UK stores and concessions as well as over 142 stores in the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland. Britain’s housing market has steadily improved, fuelled by a government scheme that has boosted buyer demand.

Carpetright is revamping its stores and product ranges in a bid to counter tough competition in Britain, and reverse a slide in sales in the Netherlands, where the market is particularly weak.

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"We continue to take steps to develop the business. While we anticipate trading conditions will remain challenging, we expect these actions will underpin an improvement in group performance in the new financial year," said founder and executive chairman Phil Harris, who will become non-executive chairman on July 21st when Wilf Walsh joins as chief executive.

Shares in Carpetright, down 23 per cent over the last nine months, closed Monday at 499 pence, valuing the business at £338 million.

Reuters