Business

Carpetright losses widen as sales fall

Sign outside Carpetright store Image copyright Reuters

Struggling floor covering retailer Carpetright said half-year losses widened sharply to £11.7m from £0.6m last time.

Same store sales fell by 12.7% over the six-month period but the company said there was a "marked sequential improvement" between the quarters.

The company also said net debt had dropped from £53m to £12.4m.

Earlier this year the company agreed a rescue plan, which included the closure of 81 stores.

So far, 65 of these have been closed.

Carpetright chief executive Wilf Walsh said: "This is a transitional year for Carpetright as we work through our restructuring plan. We remain on schedule and are confident that this activity is already starting to yield benefits.

"This is the first stage in returning the group to sustainable long term profitability."

Investors in early trading appeared to see the positive, too.

'Encouraging signs'

Shares were 4% higher in early trading.

Neil Wilson, from markets.com, said there were some "encouraging signs" in Carpetright's results.

"It's on course to deliver the £19m in annualised cost savings from the store closure programme," he said.

"Investors may also be encouraged that the average store lease has been reduced to 3.5 years, with more than half able to break within two years," Mr Wilson added.

New rival

The company agreed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with its creditors in April. Under that plan it also raised £65m from shareholders.

Carpetright has recently had to face fresh competition from rival Tapi. But Mr Wilson said that Carpetright was still dominant in terms of market share and brand recognition.

Carpetright's troubles come as many others on the High Street struggle to stay in business.

This year has seen a raft of big names shut stores or disappear entirely.

They include electronics firm Maplin, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Toys R Us, Mothercare and even Poundworld.

A number of big-name restaurant chains have also struggled, including Jamie's Italian and Prezzo.

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