Carpetright is the UK’s largest floor covering retailer, but has been struggling in recent years as a result of ongoing uncertainty in the UK economy and competition from newer market entrant Tapi. The retailer was forced to turn to a CVA in 2018 to exit underperforming stores and reduce rents.

Pressure mounted and sales declined and, after weeks of talks over a potential sale of the business, in November 2019 Carpetright accepted a £15.2m takeover offer from its largest shareholder Meditor and called on investors to back the bid as it sought to refinance itself to repay debt and provide working capital. This was voted through in December.  

Subsequently the latest financial year was an extended reporting period of 18 months to 31 October 2020 (FY2020), due to be followed by a 14-month period to 31 December 2021 in order to align Carpetright’s accounting period to that of its ultimate parent company. This means that the latest results cannot be directly compared to those of previous years. 

Carpetright has been downsizing for the past decade and had just under 300 mainly out-of-town stores in the UK, after closing a significant number through the CVA.

It also has a significant presence in Belgium, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland, with around 130 overseas stores.

Former chief executive Wilf Walsh took over from founder Lord Harris in 2014 and set about implementing a turnaround strategy that was aimed at putting customers at the heart of the business and delivering a seamless multichannel experience.

Fine-tuning the store network by closing duplicate or underperforming stores as rents expired formed an ongoing part of Walsh’s strategy. He also kicked off an extensive rebranding and refurbishment of existing outlets to a more contemporary format. 

However, Walsh retired on his 60th birthday in June 2022, with Kevin Barrett having joined as CEO.

Despite its struggles, the group has continued pursuing a range of back-end technology investments aimed at improving its multichannel capabilities.

Innovation rating: 2

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