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Aggressive Price-Matching Adds to Profit Challenges at United Carpets

United Carpets & Beds 725 x 500.jpg

United Carpets Group plc ("the Group" or "the Company" or "United Carpets"), the third largest chain of specialist retail carpet and floor covering stores in the UK, provides the following trading update for the year ending 31 March 2019.

In the Group's interim results announced in December, United Carpets advised that the current financial year has been challenging from the outset. The exceptionally warm summer and the World Cup combined to impact upon the Group's first half trading performance requiring increased marketing investment and support for the franchisee network at the same time that the Group was continuing to invest in online activities and future business development opportunities.

Since then the Group has worked hard to successfully maintain like for like sales against a well reported and increasingly difficult backdrop in the run up to Brexit, which has weakened consumer confidence, created a softer housing market and led to an environment in which all retailers are competing aggressively for every sale. Marketing investment and support for the franchisee network have continued to impact on Group profitability as has aggressive pricing to match competitor discounting. The Group also continues to develop online activities and new opportunities which, while increasing total revenue, are not yet making a positive contribution to profit before tax. Consequently, the Board now expects the likely range for profit before tax to be £550k to £650k.

Looking ahead, the Board are confident that the fundamentals of the business remain sound, as the Group continues to operate from a stable store network, under a well-known and trusted brand with substantial cash balances and virtually no debt. The business is therefore well placed to take advantage of any improvement in market conditions.

United Carpets reported a challenging first half when it updated the market in December 2018

Source : Insight DIY Team and United Carpets PLC

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07 March 2019

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