Carpetright to shut stores

Furnishings giant Carpetright is to shut seven of its Irish stores after sales halved in the last three years.

The company said management was negotiating with staff over the closures but expected to lay off 19 workers.

Carpetright said it continued to face difficult trading conditions and business remained very difficult after a three year-long downturn.

"Throughout this period Carpetright has sought to maintain the size of its Republic of Ireland operation, in anticipation of the hoped-for economic recovery," a spokeswoman said.

"However, more than three years since the start of the downturn, and with no signs of a recovery yet in evidence, we have recently completed a review of the business to examine ways to improve its performance."

Carpetright has 25 stores across Ireland.

"This has been a difficult but necessary decision in the face of steep declines in both customer footfall and sales volumes over a prolonged period," the spokeswoman said.

"On completion of this process the business will be in a stronger position to await a recovery in economic conditions."