Chairman confident of future growth
Carpetright has increased pre-tax profit by 8 per cent for the year, delivering a boost to the troubled flooring retail sector.

The retailer's figures for the 52 weeks to April 30 come after rival Floors 2 Go issued a profit warning late last week.

However, Carpetright said underlying pre-tax profit, which excludes gains from disposals of property assets and terminations of business, was down 4.1 per cent to£62.3 million. Underlying operating profit also fell 4.1 per cent to£63.9 million. Total UK sales rose 2.1 per cent to£404.1 million over the period, but like-for-like sales fell 1.3 per cent.

Carpetright chairman and chief executive Lord Harris said the results showed solid performance from the group. However, he acknowledged that the sector as a whole had suffered, especially in the second half of the financial year.

He said: 'There is no doubt that the UK floor coverings market has become more difficult since the start of 2005 in line with several other DIY and housing related sectors, as well as retail in general.

'However, the Carpetright business is well placed, with its strong competitive position, to continue to grow market share. This, alongside our clear UK and European expansion plans, continued drive for margin growth, ongoing profits from property and strong cash generation should enable the business to continue to deliver good returns for shareholders.'

Lord Harris also took the opportunity to dismiss rumours that he is mulling a management buy out. He told reporters he was commited to keeping the retailer a plc.