Digital becomes Carpetright's largest store
Carpetright said sales from digital have outperformed any single store in its estate for the first time.
The flooring-to-beds retailer, a Top250 trader in IRUK Top500 research
, said sales from digital channels had recently become its "largest single trading store" after year-on-year growth of 49%.
The update came as Carpetright reported growing sales in the half-year to October 28. Revenue of £228.1m was 2.6% ahead of the £222.3m reported a year earlier, but pre-tax profits of £0.3m were behind the £4.1m reported last time. That, said Carpetright, reflected continued investment in its store refurbishment programme as well as discounting.
Chief executive Wilf Walsh said: "The first half has undoubtedly been challenging. Consumer confidence remains fragile and we continue to manage the impact of intensified competition. We have made pleasing progress in our core flooring business in the UK - like-for-like sales are up, more than half the UK store estate has now been refurbished and our customer service metrics have been improved significantly. However, as previously flagged, our first-half profits reflect the impact of the clearance of discontinued lines in our beds business and also unsuccessful deeper discounting promotions in the Netherlands and Belgium, which are now being addressed.
"Looking ahead we will be focused on maintaining sales momentum in UK flooring, capitalising on the much-stronger new range to turn around our beds performance and improving overall trading in the Netherlands and Belgium. While trading over the first six weeks of the new period has been encouraging, with an acceleration in like-for-like sales growth in both the UK and Rest of Europe, in light of the consumer outlook we are taking a more cautious view of the second half and now expect underlying profit before tax for the full year will be towards the bottom end of the current range of market expectations."
In recent years Carpetright has been working to rightsize and refurbish its store estate in the light of online retailing. Today it said its new brand identity was now trading in more than half (52%) of the UK store estate, which stands at 418 stores following ten closures. Today it said: "While we have made substantial progress reducing the size and improving the quality of our store estate we are also future-proofing our business by investing in the online experience."
It said that a focus on improving customer service had paid off, with its Trustpilot score rising to 8.9. In addition, it said, 52 stores had now traded against a new direct local competitor for more than 12 months, a period in which they delivered like-for-like growth of an average 5%.