Beds boost sales at Carpetright
Carpetright, the carpet and floor coverings retailer, has reported like-for-like sales growth of 1.7% in its first quarter as its fledgling beds offering and the extension of its laminate ranges helped to increase sales.
The retailer, which has issued several profit warnings, said the growth seen in the 12 weeks to 21 July continued the positive trend seen in the second half of the last financial year. However, total sales in the UK declined by 2.1% due to a reduction in the number of stores year-on-year. In the quarter the store base decreased by four to 486, of which 63 have now been refurbished.
Total sales in the Netherlands, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland fell by 5.2% with like-for-like sales down 6.3%. After allowing for the movement in exchange rates, this translated to a total sales decline in Europe of 13.6%.
Darren Shapland, chief executive, said: "The key driver in the performance of the Rest of Europe has been the deterioration of consumer confidence producing a weak and volatile floor coverings market in the Netherlands. The Republic of Ireland and Belgium continued to deliver sales growth."
The retailer said its gross margin for the period continued to improve in line with expectations and said it projected the full year to be in the range of 200-250 basis points above the prior year.
Shapland added: "We continue to be encouraged by the like-for-like sales growth within the UK business. This reflects, in part, the success of self-help actions such as the development of our bed proposition, extension of our laminate range to more stores and the impact of our store refurbishment programme.
"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."
Carpetright said the results for the first quarter were in line with management expectations and that expectations for the year as a whole remained unchanged.
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