Until his surprise appointment as Carpetright boss, former HMV man Wilf Walsh was more associated with Inspiral than inspiring carpets.
But since joining a year ago Walsh has set about reinvigorating Carpetright with gusto and his efforts are starting to pay off.
That was evidenced by a big rise in full-year underlying earnings and like-for-like growth in the core UK market, and a return to profit at its European business.
Carpetright is probably benefiting, like other big-ticket retailers, from improved market conditions. But Walsh’s strategy looks designed to make the most of the opportunity.
It balances the potential for Carpetright to do things better − such as enhancing its brand − with cost opportunities from lease renewals.
The rise of multichannel can play to Carpetright’s advantage and the retailer is determined to ensure bricks and clicks complement each other.
A more inspirational website “has been successful in driving more customers to our stores”, the retailer reported.
And in the stores Carpetright can exploit the product expertise and service credentials which it is determined to make a “genuine point of sustained competitive advantage”.
Words such as service and expertise can conjure up concerns about high prices in shoppers’ minds but Carpetright, sensibly, has retained “unbeatable value” as a central strategic plank.
The new financial year has got off to a good start. UK like-for-likes are up almost 5%. The journey has only just begun, but it may turn out to be a magic carpet ride.