Friday, December 23, 2011

News: "Reasonable performance" for United Carpets


Rotherham-based United Carpets, the second largest chain of specialist retail carpet and floor covering stores in the UK, has published a half yearly report for the period ended September 30 2011.

In a difficult market, sales levels have been maintained close to the previous year, down 0.8%, with pre-tax profits of £267,000, down from £604,000 in the same period last year.

The group did add that sales in the 11 weeks since the half-year have, shown some encouraging signs with overall like for like gross sales up 4.4%.

With their head office at Bramley, United Carpets has 85 branded stores across Northern and Central England.

With the majority of stores operating under the group's franchise model, the business benefits from the entrepreneurial drive and motivation of the individual store owners which, the company believe, is a critical advantage over more traditional retail networks.

Paul Eyre, chief executive of United Carpets, said: "We are pleased to have maintained a similar level of sales to last year given the continued uncertainty and inflationary increases impacting upon UK consumers.

"We have benefitted from our franchise model and our focus on providing good value to our customers but the increase in the number of less productive corporate stores together with a difficult trading environment for beds has adversely affected profitability in this period.

"Overall, I believe this represents a reasonable performance in a challenging market but, while there is so much uncertainty in the UK and across Europe, the Board believes it is important to adopt a conservative approach and looks to preserve the Group's current financial position."

Retail sales by the group's franchisees were slightly up at £34.86m compared to £34.20m in the same period of 2010. United Carpets will continue to focus on this area and look for more franchisees to take on the remaining 17 corporate stores.

During the period the central management team was reshaped with the appointments of Mark Prior and Paul Newton as operations managers, who have since introduced new practices across the group.

United Carpets website



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