Carpetright revamp helps lift sales

LONDON Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:35am GMT

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LONDON (Reuters) - Carpetright (CATVU.L), Britain's biggest floor coverings retailer, posted a rise in third quarter sales in its home market as new ranges and improved stores helped trade.

The firm, which makes around 80 percent of its sales in Britain, said on Tuesday sales at UK stores open more than a year rose 3.2 percent in the 13 weeks to January 26, compared with a 0.6 percent rise in its second quarter.

Total sales in the UK rose by 1.6 percent.

Carpetright has been refurbishing its stores and expanding its laminate floor and bed ranges to help attract customers and said those changes had helped ease tough trading conditions caused by a squeeze on consumers' disposable income.

Like-for-like sales in its smaller European unit - Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands - fell 11.5 percent, a slight improvement on a 12.7 percent second-quarter decline, with market conditions in the Netherlands remaining tough.

In December the firm posted an underlying pretax profit of 4.5 million pounds for the first half of the year. It is expected on average to post a full-year pretax profit of 9.4 million pounds, according to a Reuters poll of nine analysts.

Shares in the firm, which now has 476 stores in the UK, closed at 683 pence on Monday, up 12 percent on six months ago, valuing the business at around 460 million pounds.

(Reporting by Neil Maidment; editing by James Davey)

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