Floorings specialist Carpetright group sales dropped 5.2% in the 12 weeks to October 23, with the retailer saying it expects tough trading conditions to continue into 2011.

Like-for-like sales for the UK and Ireland dropped by 7.3%, while total sales fell 4.6%. The retailer closed a net four stores during the period, leaving it with 584 stores.

In its European arm, covering the Netherlands and Belgium, like-for-like sales were down by 1.2%. Two stores opened in the Netherlands, bringing its total in Europe to 118 stores. The closure of its operations in Poland accounted for 0.5% of the 5.2% group sales decline.

Lord Harris of Peckham, chairman and chief executive of Carpetright, blamed fragile consumer confidence and the reduction in mortgage approvals for the difficult market.

“In these challenging market conditions, we have progressed the roll out of our bed offer, opening 44 bedding departments within our existing UK estate since the start of the financial year with plans for a further 50 by the end of April 2011,” Lord Harris said.

Singer Capital Markets analyst Mark Photiades described the trading update as “disappointing” and said they remained cautious on its short-term earnings prospects.

Nick Bubb, analyst at Arden Partners, said the performance for the quarter was “very poor”, noting that Carpetright did not comment on the profits outlook.