December 10, 2013 / 7:46 AM / 4 years ago

Carpetright profit falls in tough markets

2 Min Read

LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Carpetright, Britain's biggest floor coverings retailer, said it expected a better performance in the second half of the year after posting a drop in first-half profit in tough markets at home and in the Netherlands.

The firm had warned on year profit in October, blaming a softer market in Britain and a further deterioration in the Netherlands.

Carpetright said on Tuesday it made a pretax profit of 3.0 million pounds ($4.9 million) in the six months to Oct. 26, down from 4.5 million pounds in the same period last year.

Group revenue fell 2.2 percent to 222.2 million pounds, with sales at UK stores open over a year down 0.8 percent and like-for-like sales in the rest of Europe division (Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland) slumping 8.6 percent.

The firm trades from 474 UK stores and 142 in the rest of Europe division.

"Against a backdrop of volatile trading conditions, our first half performance reflects an improvement in profits in the UK, driven by the continued success of our self-help initiatives, offset by a move into loss in our rest of Europe business," said founder, chairman and major shareholder Philip Harris.

Harris, 71, resumed a full-time executive role with Carpetright in October, when the firm parted company with its Chief Executive Darren Shapland.

Though he anticipated trading conditions would remain challenging he forecast an improvement in group performance in the second half, noting encouraging data in mortgage approvals, and said expectations for the year as a whole were unchanged.

Shares in Carpetright, which have fallen 22 percent so far this year, closed Monday at 532.5 pence, valuing the business at 358 million pounds.

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