United Carpets grows first half profits
Carpet and floor covering retailer United Carpets has reported increased profits in the first half of its financial year despite a “challenging” trading environment.
In the six months to 30 September, operating profit rose by 9.1% to £636,000 while pre-tax profit climbed to £640,000 from £588,000 in the same period in the previous year.
Network sales across the group, including the value of retail sales by franchisees, grew to £27.5 million from £27.1 million previously. Revenue, which as in previous years includes marketing and rental costs incurred by the group and recharged to franchisees, was £10.2 million compared to £10.4 million in the corresponding period a year ago.
United Carpets said the reduction in sales as a result of decreased corporate store numbers had been largely offset by increased franchise commissions and marketing contributions together with growth in warehousing throughput.
On a like-for-like basis, sales edged up by 2.1% in the period.
Paul Eyre, United Carpets chief executive, said: “Notwithstanding a fairly challenging backdrop, the good momentum from last year has continued into the first half of the current financial year with trading performance proving robust.
“From a smaller store base we have largely maintained revenues and continued to improve group profitability reflecting the growing quality of the store portfolio together with the careful management of costs.”
The company said like-for-like sales for the 10 weeks since the period end to 8 December have continued to be positive and that it expects the outlook to also be positive despite a “challenging” political and economic background.
Peter Cowgill, United Carpets chairman, said: “Our markets are driven to a large extent by consumer confidence and while we have ongoing political uncertainty over Brexit, the underlying base case is satisfactory, supported by a low interest rate environment combined with a housing market that continues to function reasonably well. Consequently, this should mean that our business will continue to perform.”