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Carpetright plans new website designed to drive online customers in-store

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Carpetright today said it planned to launch a new website in the spring, designed to encourage online shoppers into the store.

The carpets-to-beds multichannel retailer has long said while most customers want to see and feel its products in person and get specialist advice in-store before they buy, the internet plays an increasingly important role in the purchase. To that end, it said today, its new and “more inspirational website,” set to launch next spring, would be “designed to drive more customers who have done their research online to our stores”.

Carpetright said in its interim results statement today: “The internet has become a vital research tool for many customers and the rapid growth of smartphone and tablet use has made an effective and integrated multichannel proposition a necessity. With over 400 stores, we see the opportunity to leverage the accessibility of our estate, combined with the strength of our marketing voice and supported by an inspirational website, a key advantage when compared to the competition.”

The update came as Carpetright reported sales of £194.2m in the half-year to October 25 2014, up by 5% compared to the same period last year. It said pre-tax profits were 252.6% up at £6.7m, from £1.9m at the same time last year. The company said a focus on improved sourcing had improved profit margins and therefore profits.

In the UK alone, like-for-like revenues were up by 6.5%, but down by 3.3% in the rest of Europe in local currency.

The company said that during the first half it saw a weekly average of more than 92,000 unique visitors to its website, some 8% up on the same time last year. Appointment leads and sample requests were up in line with that growth. The company said the combination of call centre follow-ups and online capability had grown “significantly”: by October 2014 sales gained as a result of the pairing had risen to become the equivalent one of Carpetright’s top ten stores. At the same time the company has resized its store estate where possible: by the end of October it had 98 ‘sample-only’ stores of its total of 463, following eight openings and 17 closures during the period.

Chief executive Wilf Walsh said: “We believe that with a well researched and well executed strategy, we can begin to reshape Carpetright to ensure the business better capitalises on its market leading position.

“These changes will take time to take full effect but we are absolutely focused on maintaining the recent improvements in the performance of the Group, as well as devoting our energies to revitalising our brand and operations in line with contemporary customer expectations. As a team we are excited by the potential that exists.”

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