Carpetright has been given an unexpected boost after Microsoft billionnaire Bill Gates bought a 3 per cent stake in the flooring and carpet specialist.

The unlikely purchase has been made through Cascade Investment, which is owned by Gates. It is reported that the Microsoft chairman invested more than£15 million.

The news has given a much-needed lift to Carpetright’s share price, which was up about 3 per cent following the revelation.

In December, Carpetright chairman and chief executive Lord Harris of Peckham shelved plans for a much-anticipated management buyout. Carpetright, which runs more than 400 stores in the UK, has been suffering from the downturn in the housing market.