Carpetright makes pounds 5.5m as market share increases

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The Independent Online
CARPETRIGHT, the carpet retailer headed by Sir Philip Harris, yesterday reported a jump in pre-tax profits from pounds 3.4m to pounds 5.5m in its first six months as a public company, writes Heather Connon.

The group's sales in the 26 weeks to 30 October were pounds 50.5m, up from pounds 38.1m in the previous 28-week period. Excluding new openings, sales rose 19 per cent, which Sir Philip said reflected the company's success in gaining market share from smaller retailers. It estimates that it has about 9 per cent of the market.

The increase in volume helped to boost net margins from 8.4 per cent to 10.4 per cent. Sir Philip said gross margins remained flat at about 45 per cent.

The group opened 13 stores in the first half, and refurbished 14. A further 20 are due to open in the second half, which will bring the total to 147. The group aims to add about 70 stores over the next two years.

Carpetright was floated last June at 148p a share. Yesterday, the shares closed at 270p, 7p down on the day. Earnings per share were 4.66p, compared with a pro forma 2.6p. There is a maiden dividend of 2.7p a share.

Sir Philip said the carpet market remained flat, despite the recovery in the housing market.