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Walsh confident on recovery plan after sales plunge

Carpetright’s UK like for like sales fell by almost a fifth during its CVA process, and while they improved, were almost down by 10% in the past quarter.

In May, June and July like for like sales dropped by 16.8% as the chain was hit by stock availability, consumer worries over the restructuring and the retail market.

For the August to October quarter, this had improved but sales were still 8.9% lower.

65 UK stores were closed in the six-month period. A further 11 are expected to close in the next five months. 25 of the chain’s Category C stores that had been expected to close remain open, with landlords preferring to forgo rent to avoid an empty rent and paying business rates.

Store numbers were reduced to 345, with sales space reduced by 17% to 3.014million sqft.

Wilf Walsh, Carpetright ceo said the restructuring was on track to deliver £19m of savings, and it would resume the store refurbishment programme. ‘Unlike other retailers going through a similar process, you don't generally pick a product up from the shelves in our stores - we ask customers to leave a deposit ahead of delivery and this clearly became a significant issue for some during this period,’ he said.

Group sales £226.6m to £191.1m, while pre-tax losses increased from £600,000 to £11.7m.