Allied Carpets ends bid talks

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The Independent Online
ALLIED CARPETS, the struggling carpet retailer, attempted to draw a line under past problems yesterday when it said it had ended discussions with potential buyers after failing to attract any formal offers.

Allied had been approached by up to three potential bidders, including Carpetright, Alchemy Partners, the venture capital group, and Belgo, the company run by entrepreneur Luke Johnson. But offers fell short of hopes, so Allied has taken down its "for sale" sign.

Although the group's shares fell 7p to 41p on the news, Allied Carpets' management put a positive gloss on events. Julian Lee, chairman, said the ending of the talks closed a damaging period of uncertainty.

He added that following the pounds 12m sale of 29 Carpetland stores to Carpetright, the company could concentrate on improving the core business. A statement said this would focus on improving sales densities in existing stores, further cuts in overheads and cash generation.

Mr Lee said the climate in the carpet sector was still difficult. "The market is as tough as every retailer is saying. There isn't any consumer confidence. It is very much in the hands of the Monetary Policy Committee."

Allied Carpets will speed up its search for a new finance director following the resignation last year of David Pout, who quit after accounting problems.