Belfast Telegraph

Sluggish spring sales for carpet firm

By Holly Williams

Retailer Carpetright sounded a warning over profits yesterday after it said sales had failed to recover following snow-hit January trading.

The group's shares plunged 14% in the wake of its profits alert, which comes as a blow to the group after tentative signs of a revival at the end of 2009.

Carpetright said comparable sales across the UK and Ireland rose 1.4% in the seven weeks to March 20, down again on the 2.3% growth seen in the third quarter.

“The pace of recovery seen towards the end of 2009 has not been sustained and whilst group profits for the year to May 1 2010 will be considerably ahead of last year, they are likely to fall below current market expectations,” said a spokesman for Carpetright.

Sales had bounced back last year, rising by an encouraging 3.9% in the group's first half because of improved trading conditions and following the demise of competitors such as |Allied Carpets.

However, growth slowed as sales suffered during the freezing weather conditions at the start of the year.

Lord Harris of Peckham, chairman and chief executive of Carpetright, said: “Based on previous experience, we expected to recover some of this lost trade in the remaining weeks of the year.

“It is now clear that recent like-for-like sales growth, while remaining positive, has not returned to pre-Christmas levels and the recovery from weak trading in January has not been as significant as expected.”

Carpetright has around 600 stores across the UK and Ireland, as well as around 120 in Europe.

It said its businesses in the Netherlands and Belgium continued to trade well, with like-for-like sales up 1.6% in constant currency.

Belfast Telegraph

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