Carpetright sales continue to fall amid weak consumer confidence

Troubled retailer Carpetright has said UK sales remain under pressure as uncertainty continues to affect shopper confidence.

The group confirmed UK like-for-like sales fell once more in the 13 weeks to January 26, although it said trading had improved since the first half, when sales tumbled 12.7%.

Carpetright said: “Trading patterns have remained volatile week to week, against a backdrop of uncertainty and weak consumer confidence.”

Its European operations have fared better, with the group saying trading has been “consistently” ahead of a year earlier, driven by robust trading in the Netherlands.

The group also confirmed it is on target to deliver promised annual cost savings of £19 million, agreed as part of a rescue deal announced in April that will see it undergo a dramatic store closure programme.

Its update on Tuesday also saw the group announce that its chief financial officer of more than 10 years, Neil Page, is stepping down later this month to retire from a full-time role.

He will leave the board on February 25, but will remain with the company until April 30.

Mr Page will be replaced by Jeremy Simpson, most recently chief financial officer of Sureserve Group, on February 25.

Wilf Walsh, chief executive of Carpetright, said: “As CFO, Neil has made an outstanding contribution to Carpetright over many years and the board wishes to express its gratitude for his unstinting commitment to the business, particularly through the recent challenging period of restructuring.

“We are delighted that Jeremy is joining us as CFO, he has a strong plc track record and will be able to integrate swiftly into the executive team.”

Carpetright announced a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) in April, allowing it to close up to 81 under-performing outlets.

It said at the half-year stage that 54 were shut in the period and another two will close in the second half. Another 25 continue to trade without paying rent.

An additional 11 stores had been shut in the first half where the landlord had decided to take back the lease, with another nine closures expected in the second half.

Carpetright made a loss before tax of £11.7 million in the 26 weeks to October 27.