Retirement's off as Lord Harris decides to stay with Carpetright
Wednesday 25 June 2014
The Tory peer and Carpetright founder Lord Harris of Peckham has shelved plans to retire from his business in the latest of a string of management changes at the embattled flooring chain.
Lord Harris, who had intended to retire in September after 56 years in the carpet trade, will now remain after the appointment of a new chairman, expected later this year.
It is understood he is keen to protect the interests of the retailer's founding family, which has a 20 per cent shareholding in the company.
He said: "The decision has been made on reflection. It will give continuity to the business for the workers in the factory and the shops."
The deputy chairman, Baroness Noakes, had begun the search for Lord Harris's replacement and will complete the process but will not now continue as interim chairman after a replacement is found.
Lord Harris said: "There's no point having a chairman for a month and then changing. Nothing huge has changed, I was always going to be here to help [incoming boss Wilf Walsh]."
Carpetright last month announced that Mr Walsh, a former executive at Coral and HMV, will become chief executive in July after the previous boss, Darren Shapland, left suddenly last year, and part-successor Graham Harris was made redundant last month.
Greg Bromley, a retail consultant at Conlumino, expressed concern over the direction of the business.
"With the departure of the founding family imminent, and the appointment of a new chief executive fairly unfamiliar with the field, the future of the business is unclear," he said.
Carpetright posted a 40 per cent fall in operating profits to £6.9m in the year to 26 April. Sales at stores open longer than a year fell 0.2 per cent and total sales fell 2.2 per cent to £447.7m.
The finance director Neil Page said: "We are making good progress in the Netherlands and there are signs that market is improving. We are confident we will be able to report an improving in that business in the coming financial year."
Mr Page said the UK market was "volatile" and, although the UK economy and housing market is improving, the retailer is battling fierce competition in the market typified by widespread deals amongst independent retailers.
Mr Bromley added: "Carpetright has been taking proactive measures to improve its performance over the year; however, it is evident these are not proving effective enough and this is a poor set of results for the flooring specialist.
"Most worryingly, it has failed to capitalise on an improvement in trading conditions in the UK, notably a more-mobile housing market."
The carpet and beds retailer is also revamping older, tired stores. It refurbished 89 outlets last year and has now modernised 275 of its 472 shops.
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
iJobs Money & Business
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£30 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst with experienc...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£21000 - £24000 per annum: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged b...