Carpetright has warned on profits as sales plunged in the UK and Ireland.

Like-for-likes sales plummeted 7.7% and total sales dropped 5% in the UK and Ireland in the 13 weeks to January 29. Like-for-likes across the rest of Europe also fell 5% over the period.

Carpetright chairman and chief executive Lord Harris of Peckham warned that profits for the year ending April 30 would be both below current market expectations and below last year’s figures. It expects an increase on 2009 levels.

Lord Harris said: “The tough trading conditions have continued into the third quarter, with adverse weather conditions and fragile consumer confidence producing a difficult floor coverings market.

“As we stated at our last update, we were expecting January trading to be boosted by the impact of snow in the comparative period.  Although we have achieved an increase in sales year on year since Christmas, this has not been at the level expected.  This causes us to remain cautious about the outlook for the remainder of the financial year.”

Carpetright said it will continue to focus on cost management and expects UK and Ireland full year margin to be in line with previous guidance of a 50 basis point increase on last year.

He said: “There have been no significant changes to the group’s financial position during the period and the business remains well placed to capitalise on opportunities when economic conditions improve.”