Allied Carpets goes back to high street to cut costs

Allied Carpets, the UK's second-largest floorcoverings retailer, plans a push onto the high street because of high rents in retail parks.

At present, only 20 of Allied's 220 stores are on high streets, but another 20 appropriate locations have been identified. High street shops will measure between 280 and 555 sq m, roughly half the size of retail park stores, and sell carpets, wood floorings, laminates and rugs.

They may work alongside retail park stores in several towns or cities.

Chief executive Clive Hutchings said: 'We see it as a route for strategic expansion, to get less costs and a better deal. We are not coming out of edge-of-town retail.'

He is aiming to return the store group to the profitability levels achieved five years ago in the next six months.

Hutchings revealed he has 'condensed' the Allied bed offer, which will now be tailored to individual locations.

'We are doing a review of all our product range, just to make the square footage sweat for us,' he said.

He is also seeking to develop the Allied Carpets brand with the slogan 'More value, more choice, more service'. The business will now be marketed using TV ads, regional and local radio campaigns, brochures and posters.

Hutchings added: 'We will no longer rely just on traditional black-and-white ads in national newspapers.'

Allied Carpets is planning to open five more out-of-town stores next year.