Latest victim of home furnishing downturn
United Carpets has slowed its planned franchise store opening programme and revealed that interim profits will be down after tough trading.

The retailer said pre-tax profits for the six months to September 30 will be significantly lower than for the same period last year.

At its AGM, the retailer said: 'Instead of pursuing our roll-out programme of new franchisee stores at the rate set at the beginning of this year, we finished the first six months of this financial year with 58 stores, three less than our initial target.'

The retailer is the latest victim of the downturn in the home furnishings sector. It said: 'The fact that the year has been a challenging environment for retailers has been widely reported. Like many in our sector, we have been affected by the slowdown in consumer spending and have therefore had to adopt a more defensive strategy than we envisaged earlier this year.'

The group, floated in January this year, is the UK's third-biggest carpet specialist and also sells beds. Revenues from bed sales were down 10.1 per cent like for like for the 30 weeks to October 27. It will unveil interim results in December.