24 July 2012 10:12
Floor coverings firm Carpetright offered some comfort on recent trading today after store refits and favourable weather helped boost UK sales.
The group's profits recently slumped to £4 million from £62 million in 2008 but new chief executive Darren Shapland said he was encouraged by growth in UK like-for-like sales of 1.7% for the 12 weeks to July 21.
He credits the revival on a drive to sell more beds, the extension of laminate ranges to more stores and the impact of its refurbishment programme, which has now reached 63 of its 486 outlets in the UK.
Mr Shapland added: "We also recognise that this period does include some benefit from the unusually wet weather, which has produced consistently positive customer footfall to our stores."
The UK improvement, which increases to 5.3% when excluding business achieved through insurers and housebuilders, has been offset by a sharp drop in sales in the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland.
Carpetright blamed weakening consumer confidence for the 6.3% drop in rest of Europe same-store sales in the period but said overall sales for the first quarter of its financial year were in line with expectations.
Shares opened slightly higher today.