Harris unrolls carpet format

Carpetright, the rapidly expanding carpet retailer run by former Harris Queensway chief, Sir Phil Harris, is to roll out a new format in a bid to capture 20 per cent of the UK market.

The new, larger style stores are called Carpet Depot. They feature a wider range of stock and include a more upmarket range costing up to pounds 50 a square metre and will offer interest-free credit whereas Carpetright's other stores do most of their business in cash, cheque and credit card.

The first branch opened in West Thurrock in Essex last month. A fourth opens near Edinburgh next week and the company plans a rapid expansion to a chain of 70 outlets over the next four years.

Sir Phil said: "It will meet the department stores like John Lewis head- on. It will be a low-margin, high-volume business. It's very exciting."

However, there are concerns that the new larger stores might cannibalise the existing Carpetright outlets. Kingfisher has already found that its new Warehouse DIY stores have hit the existing branches of B&Q.

Sean Eddie, retail analyst at NatWest Securities, said: "If you put in a category killer you are clearly going to take market share. But if you are already the biggest then you are more likely to feel a disproportionate amount of pain." However Sir Phil is confident that the new stores are aiming at a different market to Carpetright.

After its flotation two years ago Carpetright has expanded to a chain of more than 200 stores. In June it reported a 40 per cent increase in profits to pounds 20m for the year to April. The shares closed 4p lower yesterday at 342p.

COMPANY RESULTS

Turnover pounds Pre-tax pounds EPS Dividend

Berry Birch & Noble (I) 3.34m (4.05m) -0.05m (0.38m) -1.2p (4.4p) nil (1.8p)

BDA Holdings (I) 0.36m (0.71m) -0.07m (-0.55m) -0.36p (-3.01p) nil (nil)

Blockleys (I) 5.28m (5.24m) -0.21m (0.11m) -0.58p (0.32p) nil (0.4p)

Body Shop Interntnl (I) 105m (93.5m) 9.1m (12.3m) 2.8p (4.2p) 1.08p (0.9p)

Bridport-Gundry (F) 28.4m (27.1m) 1.34m (0.74m) 8.64p (6.16p) 3.6p (3p)

DFS Furniture Co (F) 145m (135m) 26.3m (21.4m) 16.57p (14.39p) 8.3p (7.2p)

Ewart (F) 7.59m (5.9m) 1.48m (1.13m) 4.34p (5.21p) 1.1p (1p)

Havelock Europa (I) 22.8m (15.7m) 2.04m (1.56m) 5.3p (5.2p) 1.2p (1p)

Town Centre Secs (F) 22.0m (20.0m) 9.3m (8.8m) 6.38p (5.40p) 3.25p (3.04p)

IAWS Group (F) Ir511m (Ir480m) Ir16.2m (Ir12.8m) 10.2p (8.7p) 2.657p (2.415p)

(Q) - Quarterly (F) - Final (I) - Interim

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