The retailer also assured investors that an embarrassing financial oversight, discovered earlier this year and primarily caused by late payments from franchisees, would not be repeated. New finance director Ian Bowness has implemented improved disciplines.
The 53-store group is the UK's third biggest carpet specialist - it also sells beds - and, in common with other retailers of big-ticket items, has experienced a tough trading environment. Like-for-likes in the new financial year are down 1.8 per cent. Floor coverings edged up 0.1 per cent, but beds fell by 14.9 per cent.
Chief executive Paul Eyre said: 'These results represent a good trading performance during a time when the retail environment became increasingly difficult. The company has an excellent base from which to meet its store opening target of 100 stores by March 2008.
'While the current retail environment is challenging, we remain wholly confident in the longevity of our franchise model.'
Seymour Pierce analyst Richard Ratner said: 'Obviously the company has suffered a major dent to its credibility, caused by the accounting issue, but this has been rectified. Its current like-for-like performance on flooring is more than credible.'
United's share price soared on the back of the results statement.