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Wet weather boosts Carpetright first quarter

Carpet, flooring & homewares specialist Carpetright has seen like-for-like (LFL) sales increase 1.7 per cent in its first quarter as wet weather drove shoppers in store, according to figures released today.

In the 12 weeks to July 21st 2012, the retailer’s total sales across its UK operations dropped 2.1 per cent, which the group claims follows numerous store closures as its store base declined by four over the period.

Carpertright CEO Darren Shapland commented: “We recognise that this period does include some benefit from the unusually wet weather, which has produced consistently positive customer footfall to our stores.

“The gross margin for the period continued to improve in line with our previously announced expectations and we continue to project the full year to be in the range of 200-250 basis points above the prior year.”

Across the rest of Europe, total sales declined 5.2 per cent as LFL fell 6.3 per cent, but after taking current exchange rates into consideration, the group has seen a total sales drop across its operations in the Netherlands, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland of 13.6 per cent.

Shapland explained: “The key driver in the performance of the Rest of Europe has been the deterioration of consumer confidence producing a weak and volatile floor coverings market in the Netherlands.

“The Republic of Ireland and Belgium continued to deliver sales growth.”

Shapland, previously Director at top grocer Sainsbury’s, took on his senior role in May this year following the exit of long-standing CEO Lord Harris, who founded Carpetright in 1988.

News of this directorate change came just weeks after the retailer had issued its seventh profit warning in just over a year and Shapland believes that the latest results are a positive step for the group.

He concluded: “The result for this first quarter is in line with management’s expectations and at this early stage, our expectations for the year as a whole remain unchanged.”

Source: Gemma Taylor, Retail gazette

24 July 2012
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