Carpetright recorded challenging trade for the second half of its financial year in the UK and Ireland, but expected the group’s underlying pre-tax profit for the full year to be in line with City forecasts.

Carpetright group sales rose 5.6 per cent for the 26-week period from October 28 to April 26. The UK and Ireland business, including Storeys and Carpetworld – which was bought by Carpetright earlier this month – delivered a sales increase of 3.1 per cent. Like-for-like store sales, excluding Storeys and Carpetworld, slipped 1.8 per cent.

Trading has been challenging for Carpetright in the past 13 weeks, but like-for-like sales nudged into positive territory, up 0.6 per cent.

Sales at Carpetright's remaining European businesses, in the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland, jumped 10.7 per cent in local currency and like-for-like sales increased 6.8 per cent.

Carpetright chairman and chief executive Lord Harris of Peckham said: “As expected, our UK and Republic of Ireland business has had a demanding second half against a background of a weakening consumer environment and a slowdown in housing transactions.

“However, we continue to grow margin and our store expansion plan remains on track. Our businesses in the rest of Europe have continued to make solid progress and our planned move into Germany is now under way.”

In the UK and Ireland, Carpetright opened 18 stores during the second half and closed 18, bringing its store count to 559, including 61 concessions, 38 Storeys and 12 Carpetworld stores.