Carpetright swung to a loss amid falling sales last year as the struggling business launched a CVA.
The specialist retailer racked up £70.5m pre-tax losses in the year to April 28, 2018. This is in contrast with £0.9m profit the previous year.
Much of this was due to its CVA and restructuring costs, however, with underlying pre-tax losses of £8.7m, compared with £14.4m underlying profit the year before.
Carpetright has endured a torrid year with multiple profit warnings culminating in a CVA amid increased competition from rival Tapi.
The business will now close 81 stores by the end of September and will continue to invest in its remaining store estate, focusing investment on its most profitable sites. It will also invest in its digital platform.
UK sales fell 3.6% on a like-for-likes basis with a downturn of 7.8% in the second half offsetting a 0.7% increase for the first half. Total UK revenue dropped 5.4% to £360.4m.
In Europe, like-for-likes climbed 1.2% thanks to currency tailwinds and service-related income. Total sales rose 8.9% to £83.4m.
Current trading in the first eight weeks of the year was “heavily impacted by the disruption arising from the group’s restructuring activity, in particular stock shortages as some suppliers had withdrawn supply, and the period of exceptionally warm weather”, the business said.
It added that, since the approval of the CVA and completion of its financing programme, it has “begun to see the benefits of stock replenishment by suppliers and less negative publicity”, although UK like-for-like sales remain negative.
Chief executive Wilf Walsh said: “Completing the turnaround will take time and the road ahead remains a challenging one – but we now have the resources to fully fund our revised business plan.
“As well as being demanding, the duration of this process means that the benefits will not be fully seen during 2018/19 and will only begin to take effect in the second half.
“However, we do believe that we now have a bedrock in place of a largely right-sized and right-rented retail estate supported by plans to develop a compelling digital offer that will see us grow profitable market share over the next few years.
“For almost 30 years we’ve satisfied more customers than any other flooring retailer – so here’s to thirty more as the nation’s favourite.”
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