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Profits edge up at ‘resilient’ United Carpets

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Flooring and beds retailer United Carpets saw its profits before tax (PBT) and exceptional items increase 1.2 per cent year-on-year in the 12 months to March 31st 2011, as the company performed ahead of expectations in a heavily squeezed sector of the retail industry.

According to a preliminary results statement published today, PBT for the year was £1.48 million after what CEO Paul Eyre described as “a resilient performance” considering the current market environment.

Data published in the Confederation of British Industry’s monthly Distributive Trades Survey since the turn of the year has painted an unhealthy picture of the household goods and furniture & carpet sectors, but with like for like (LFL) sales dropping just 1.4 per cent at United Carpets it seems the firm is standing strong in the face of considerable challenges.

Network sales grew by 2.4 per cent to £71.6 million but overall revenue stayed level at £27.5 million, while earnings per share increased by 16.7 per cent to 0.98p.

Over the course of the year United Carpets increased its store portfolio by four outlets and finished the 2010/11 fiscal period with a total of 86 branded outlets across the UK, the majority of which are franchises.

Today’s statement also indicated that final dividend remained at 0.5p per share.

Eyre commented: “We continue to attract customers into our stores by offering good quality products at prices that represent real value for money.

“As a result, the group saw a small increase in network sales and subsequent increase in profitability.

“Coupled with a healthy balance sheet, the business is well positioned to continue to develop its network of franchised stores and increase its share of the flooring and beds market, alongside any improvement in trading conditions.”

The company’s core floor coverings business reported relatively flat sales over the year, but its beds division struggled with LFLs down 13.5 per cent compared to 2009/10.

Chairman Peter Cowgill said: “The beds division with its higher average cost per item, tends to suffer more than flooring when there is a drop off in consumer confidence but we are confident that the division will recover as the wider market improves.”

Published on Monday 18 July by Editorial Assistant

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