Carpetright sinks as it looks to EU stores for growth

Shares in UK floor covering retailer Carpetright plummeted more than 8% on the back of it saying sales performance in its core home market remained negative through the third quarter of its financial year.

The company said, in a trading update for the three months to the end of January, that core like-for-like sales in the UK "remained negative for the period", but added the trend had improved from that of the first half of its financial year.

"Trading patterns have remained volatile week-to-week, against a backdrop of uncertainty and weak consumer confidence," the company said.

It also announced its chief financial officer for the past 10 years, Neil Page, is retiring at the end of April to be replaced by Jeremy Simpson, finance chief of UK energy support services group Sureserve.

Carpetright said trading in the rest of Europe continued to grow, driven by a strong performance in the Netherlands. However, the UK and Ireland remain its core markets. In December, the company reported a pre-tax loss of nearly £12m for the first half of its financial year.

In its latest update, it said it is on target to realise its targeted £19m of annualised cash savings from the recapitalisation of the business last May.

A restructuring plan was put in place to close more than 90 stores and cut 300 jobs. That move halved its store presence in the North but didn't affect its 20 stores in the Republic.

Carpetright's shares have fallen nearly 74% in the last 12 months and eventually closed down 6% yesterday.

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