Thought leadership

Shares in floor coverings specialist Carpetright have plunged 45% after it warned that full-year profits would be much less than expected.

It blamed the profit alert on a “sharp deterioration” in UK trade, with sales in the key post-Christmas period “significantly behind expectations”.

Carpetright now expects profits to be between £2m and £6m, compared with analysts’ estimates of about £14m. In the 11 weeks to 13 January, like-for-like sales fell 3.6% in the UK.

In its core flooring business, the retailer said like-for-like sales – which strip out the impact of store openings and closures – had fallen 7.1% since Christmas.

The company has more than 400 stores across the UK and also has more than 100 outlets outside the UK, in Belgium, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland, making it the biggest floor covering chain in Europe.

Carpetright chief executive Wilf Walsh said: “We have seen a significant deterioration in UK trading during the important post-Christmas trading period.

“While average transaction values were up year-on-year, the number of customer transactions since Christmas were sharply down.”

In December, Carpetright had said it expected profits to be at the “bottom end” of expectations amid a “volatile and unpredictable” consumer market.

Neil Wilson from ETX Capital, said: “Profits warnings rarely come alone and so it has proved with Carpetright’s shocker today. As we noted in December, the guidance appeared like wishful thinking and so it turned out to be the case.

“Again it’s the same old story as with other brands that have failed to adapt to changing consumer trends.”

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