UPDATE 1-United Carpets enters administration, mulls store cuts

Thu Oct 4, 2012 9:48am EDT

* Appoints administrators Begbies Traynor

* Sells business and assets to subsidiary

* Prepares to close stores pending rent reductions

LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - Retailer United Carpets Group went into administration on Thursday, the latest company to fall victim to Britain's recession, and said it would close stores where rent reduction agreements could not be reached.

The flooring and beds firm closed a number of stores earlier this year after warning that many of its franchises had found trading "very challenging" and on Thursday said the fate of the remaining 72 would soon be decided.

The company said it had appointed administrators Begbies Traynor and sold the firm to a wholly-owned subsidiary.

It will now seek to agree rents with landlords and will close those stores where agreement cannot be reached, the company said.

"The board is disappointed at the need to take these steps but is confident that the core of locations remaining once the restructure is concluded will provide the foundation for a successful and sustainable business."

Recession-hit Britain has seen a number of retail failures this year, including outdoor goods firm Blacks Leisure and discount fashion chain Peacocks, which both went into administration, and JJB Sports, which closed the bulk of its stores and axed around 2,200 jobs this week.

Many retailers across Europe are struggling as consumers' disposable incomes have been squeezed by rising prices, muted wages growth and government austerity measures, and confidence has been sapped by the euro zone debt crisis.

United Carpets' larger rival Carpetright, however, posted a 1.7 percent rise in first quarter sales in July.

Shares in United Carpets were suspended in August at 3.125 pence.

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