Monday, January 4, 2016

News: United Carpets fit for growth


Rotherham-based United Carpets, the second largest chain of specialist retail carpet and floor covering stores in the UK, is starting to see the benefits of the improving trends in consumer confidence and the housing sector.

In 2012, the Bramley-based, AIM-listed company underwent a pre-pack administration deal.

The restructuring, which saw a number of under-performing stores and franchises close, helped to improve profit margins and reduce distribution costs and administrative expenses including rent, rates and staff costs.

In its interim results for the six month period ended September 30 2015, the company reported an increase in profit before tax of 10.1% compared to the same period in 2014, driven by an increase in network sales and revenue. Network sales across the group, including the value of retail sales by franchisees, were £27.1m, Up from £25.6m in the same period in 2014.

Like for like sales were a reported 5% up on the same six months last year and profit before tax increased to £588,000.

The group uses a franchise model and currently has 53 franchised stores from its 62 store portfolio. The total remains largely unchanged as stores open and relocate.

As well as improving flooring sales, the group said that the sale of beds during the period continued the "recent success story with a double digit like for like increase during the period."

Paul Eyre, chief executive at United Carpets, said: "The period under review has been characterised by improvements to revenue and profitability across the Group. We continue to benefit from a reasonable market environment which has improved the returns we have made from our 61 strong portfolio of stores. With consumer confidence and the housing sector showing signs of a generally improving trend, the Board is confident in the long term prospects for the Group."

Looking ahead, Peter Cowgill, chairman at United Carpets, said: "Like for like sales since the period end remain positive against much tougher comparatives in the second half of last year and the Group appears well positioned to complete this financial year successfully. The business is transitioning from a period of retrenchment to the next phase of growth from a sustainable base."

United Carpets website

Images: United Carpets


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