LONDON, July 29 Carpetright, Britain's
biggest floor coverings retailer, said underlying sales had
risen 6.1 percent in its first quarter although margins had been
hurt by promotions.
The firm has had a torrid time of late, issuing a string of
profit warnings and announcing a 53 percent slump in annual
profit last month as improvements to stores and ranges failed to
offset weak trade in Britain and the Netherlands.
Carpetright said on Tuesday sales at UK stores open over a
year rose 6.1 percent in the 13 weeks to July 26, helped by a
particularly strong July, though gross profit margins fell 260
basis points due to a roll out of promotions.
The firm said it now expected a full-year UK decline of
between 50 and 100 basis points, as opposed to previous guidance
of flat margins, but said its expectations for full-year profit
In its European division, made up of Ireland, Netherlands
and Belgium, like-for-like sales fell 3.6 percent, although the
firm said the latter two countries had returned to profit in the
quarter, aided by a rise in gross profit margins.
Shares in the firm, which trades from 467 stores, closed at
530 pence on Monday, down 18 percent on a year ago, valuing the
business at 360 million pounds. They were flat in early trading
(Reporting by Neil Maidment)