November 1, 2018 / 7:31 AM / 9 months ago

UK's Carpetright sales dented by store closures

LONDON (Reuters) - Struggling British floor coverings retailer Carpetright (CPRC.L) said on Thursday underlying sales fell in its first half, hurt by disruption from a major restructuring programme that saw it close 67 underperforming stores.

In an update ahead of interim results next month the retailer did not disclose sales figures. But it said it did see an improvement in the trading trend in its second quarter to Oct. 27. A further six stores are expected to close by the end of the year.

A string of British store groups have either gone out of business or announced plans to close shops this year, as they struggle with subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs, higher business property taxes and growing online competition.

In June Carpetright raised 65 million pounds through an equity issue, while in April creditors and shareholders backed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)restructuring to close stores and cut jobs. Its shares have slumped 88 percent so far this year.

Prior to Thursday’s update analysts were on average forecasting for the full 2018-19 year a pretax loss of 13.7 million pounds, according to Refinitiv data, versus a loss of 8.7 million pounds in 2017-18.

Shares in Carpetright closed Wednesday at 18.9 pence, giving an equity valuation of just 57 million pounds.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton

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