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Carpetright UK like-for-likes down 1.9% as heatwave impacts sales

Carpet and floor coverings retailer Carpetright has reported a 1.9% fall in its first quarter UK like-for-like sales after the warm weather in July led to fewer people shopping in its stores.

In the 12 weeks ending 20 July 2013, total sales in the UK declined by 3.3% although there was an improvement in gross margin of 80 basis points.

The fall in like-for-like sales compares with a rise of 5.6% in the fourth quarter of the group's previous financial year.

Carpetright chief executive Darren Shapland said: "We saw solid growth in UK sales during May and June, reflecting the continued progress of our self-help activities. During July this positive trend was reversed by the significantly warmer weather.

"Excluding the expected decrease in sales from the wholesale business during the 12 week period, our core retail business would have reported a like-for-like sales decline of 1%."

In the Rest of Europe, which includes the Netherlands, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland, like-for-like sales plunged by 10.6% while total sales declined by 10.9%. However, gross margin increased by 100 basis points.

The group said trading in the rest of Europe was continuing to be dominated by the difficult economic conditions in the Netherlands.

Shapland added: "Notwithstanding the tough trading conditions we believe we continue to grow market share in all of our markets and continue to see significant further potential in our planned self-help initiatives."

During the quarter, the retailer decreased its UK store base by five to 473, of which 202 stores have now been modernised.

Source: The Retail Bulletin

23 July 2013
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