But UK sales remain flat
Expansion into Europe has bolstered Carpetright's trading with like-for-like sales up 3.6 per cent at the company's Continental stores, while UK like-for-likes remained flat at 0.3 per cent ahead of the same time last year.

For the first 25 weeks of the financial year Carpetright - which has 493 stores in the UK and Ireland and a further 101 in Holland, Belgium and Poland - said its sales had grown 5.9 per cent in the UK and 9.1 per cent in the rest of Europe.

Carpetright chief executive and chairman Lord Harris of Peckham said the retailer had 'improved [its] gross margins by at least 2 per cent' and was 'well placed to take advantage of improving markets'.

In the past six months, Carpetright has opened 60 UK and Irish stores, but has closed seven. It has also opened two Dutch stores and one in Poland.

Numis analyst Steve Davies said that the figures were 'ahead of our assumptions on margin', but added that he felt full-year pre-tax profits would dip from last year's£64.2 million to£56 million.

However, rival broker Panmure Gordon was more upbeat, calling the figures 'an excellent performance against a generally difficult consumer background'.

Panmure Gordon analyst Christian Koefoed-Nielsen said that he felt the business was 'looking good value' as a result.

Carpetright will report its interim results for the six months to October 28 on December 12.