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Carpetright set for tough times as profits fall

THERE is no let-up in the battering being suffered in the retail sector after Carpetright said it is braced for two more years of tough trading.

In March, Carpetright, which sells carpets and floor coverings, announced plans to close seven of its 25 Irish stores and cut 19 jobs. At the time the company said that Irish sales had halved over the past three years.

Yesterday the company, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, announced a 40pc fall in profits for 2010-11, and said it will close 75 stores in the UK. It will not pay a final dividend to shareholders this year.

The company made an underlying pre-tax profit of £16.9m (€18.8m) in the year to the end of April.

Carpetright operates 700 stores in Britain, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Revenue fell 5.8pc to £486.8m and the UK-Ireland region saw a bigger drop of 6pc.

After announcing the results the company said it will tackle costs and plans to shut 75 UK stores over the next two years as well as downsizing its Irish operations.

Shares fell by more than 3pc after the announcement.

The news comes as jobs at fashion retailer Jane Norman hang in the balance. The clothes chain was taken into administration on Monday.

Yesterday the administrators said they have sold 33 units in the 94-string chain, but all of the shops are in the UK. Seven Irish shops are closed pending any possible future offer, but concessions the company operates in Debenhams department stores are still trading with hopes that Debenhams itself could take over the operations.

Chocolate seller Thorntons, meanwhile, said it plans to shut up to 180 of the 227 retail outlets it owns directly in a bid to cut costs.

Irish Independent