Monday 11 December 2017

Carpetright sales tumble as hot weather puts shoppers off

CARPETRIGHT posted a fall in first quarter underlying sales in its home market of Britain after demand waned in July as soaring temperatures discouraged consumers from shopping.

The company, which makes about 80pc of its sales in Britain, said today sales at UK stores open over a year fell 1.9pc in the 12 weeks to July 20.

That compares with a rise of about 5.6pc in the fourth quarter of the group's 2012-13 year.

Like-for-like sales in Carpetright's Europe division - made up of Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands - fell 10.6pc, dragged down by weak trading in the Netherlands, the company said. However, gross margin did increase 100 basis points.

Carpetright's efforts to refurbish its shops, broaden its carpet range into higher price points and expand its beds, laminate floor and vinyl tiles ranges have helped the company to attract shoppers over the past year despite tough trading conditions caused by an ongoing squeeze on consumers' disposable incomes.

These initiatives have also helped its gross margin, which rose 80 basis points in the first quarter.

"We saw solid growth in UK sales during May and June, reflecting the continued progress of our self-help activities. During July this positive trend was reversed by the significantly warmer weather," said chief executive Darren Shapland.

"Notwithstanding the tough trading conditions we believe we continue to grow market share in all of our markets," said Shapland.

Shares in Carpetright, up 9pc over the last year, closed yesterday at 688 pence, valuing the business at £465m (€540m).

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