Floorings retailer United Carpets pretax profits soared 84.5% to £1.1m in the year to March 31, although current trading has weakened.
Profit before tax and exceptional items rose 7.3% to £1.5m in the year while like-for-likes increased 1%.
However trading has weakened in recent weeks, with like-for-like sales in carpets falling 2.6% in the 17 weeks since the year end, while slumping 25.5% in beds. The retailer said it was affected by “the World Cup, the general election and subsequent Budget which together have made for an exceptionally tough trading period”.
In the full year, revenue grew 2.5% to £27.47m. Network sales, which include the retailers’ franchised stores, increased 7.4% to £69.9m
United Carpets said that trading “started modestly” in the year, with sales in the first quarter improving “strongly” before being “adversely affected by the severe weather conditions experienced in the fourth quarter”.
Gross margin increased from 64.0% to 66.2% reflecting the “increased proportion of franchise related income to total revenue”
The retailer said it “continued to differentiate the United Carpets offer through a series of planned advertising campaigns” in the full year period.
The 82-store retailer opened two stores in the period, across Northern and Central England.
United Carpets chief executive Paul Eyre said: ‘Sales of flooring and beds remained stable during the period under review which resulted in a good performance for the year.
“However, the market environment remains challenging, with little improvement in volume across the housing market and an understandable sense of caution amongst consumers given the continuing economic uncertainty in the UK. This was reflected in a slow trading period since January which has continued into the current financial year.”