Carpetright reports loss in first half
Flooring retailer Carpetright saw revenue fall 3.9% to Â£238.4 million in the six months to 29 October as the group said it continued to experience a "very challenging" trading environment.
The group made a loss of £800,000 compared to a pre-tax profit £9.8 million seen in the same period last year.
UK like-for-like sales dropped 2.4% although this was offset by a 4.2% reduction in total costs which was partly achieved by the retailer reducing its store base by 36 to leave a total of 503 stores.
Gross margin reduced by 430 basis points to 58.0%, reflecting higher levels of promotional discount and an increasing proportion of beds in the sales mix.
Chairman and chief Executive Lord Harris of Peckham said: "Like many other retailers we are continuing to experience a very challenging trading environment, with significant sales volatility and a corresponding decrease in the gross margin. Against this backdrop, the group has remained profitable on an underlying basis and continues to generate net cash.
"With the consumer environment expected to remain difficult, we are focusing on those opportunities that are under our direct control. We have reduced our total cost base in the first half and will continue to take a determined approach to reducing this further.
"We are confident that the combination of these factors will underpin an improved trading performance for the group in the second half and our expectations for the year as a whole are unchanged."
The group reduced its net debt in the period from £10.7 million to £55.0 million.
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