United Carpets has posted a fall in first-half profits but labelled performance “solid” in the tough trading environment.

The AIM-listed retailer reported pre-tax profit down by 14% to £0.6m in the first half to September 30, when revenues fell 5% to £13.4m.

Like-for-likes fell 5.3% but the rate of decline eased to 4.6% in the first 10 weeks of the second half.

The total sales fall was largely because of a shift away from company-owned stores to franchised shops, and network sales were flat at £34.2m.

United Carpets now has 11 corporate shops – down from 20 – and the total store count is 83.

United Carpets chief executive Paul Eyre said: “This was a solid performance in a very challenging trading environment.

“Consumers remain cautious over spending, following uncertainty in the job market and the lack of any clear signs of economic recovery.

“The business is well funded and has a strong reputation within the regions in which it operates.”

The retailer said the “relatively modest” decline in profits “emphasises the natural advantages of the United Carpets franchise model over the more traditional retailer”.