RNS Number : 2719P
United Carpets Group plc
30 September 2011
United Carpets Group plc
('United Carpets' or 'the Group')
The following statement was made at the Annual General Meeting of United Carpets held today at 10.00am.
'I am pleased to confirm the Group continues to trade in line with market expectations for the full year. However, the trading environment during the first 25 weeks of this financial year to 22 September 2011 has been challenging and like for like sales were 0.6% lower against the comparable period last year. Given the ongoing economic uncertainty across the UK and with the austerity measures now resulting in job cuts throughout the public sector, consumers have continued to spend their money cautiously.
Whilst it remains our strategy to reduce, over time, the number of corporate (non franchised) stores, that number, in fact, increased from 14 to 18 during the 25 week period. As these additional stores were loss making they will have a greater adverse impact on Group profitability in the first half than if they had continued as franchised stores.
Sales of flooring were slightly ahead of the comparable period last year. As ever, customers have recognised the value for money we offer and the opportunity to choose from our extensive ranges of flooring. We believe our trading performance continues to compare favourably with our nearest retail peers. The beds division has again struggled despite relatively weak comparatives, with consumers apparently still reluctant to spend on larger value items.
In September, the Group was voted the UK's leading Flooring Retailer (3+ stores) at the "Interiors Monthly" 2011 Awards. The award recognises the Group's achievements to date and its constant striving to do even better. Approximately 80% of all United Carpets stores operate under a franchised structure which is a key element in combining the advantages of a multiple retailer with the entrepreneurial drive of an independent. This is particularly important when the wider economic environment is subdued and it requires increased effort from the individual store management teams to maintain sales levels.
The Group's long term future remains sound, supported by significant cash balances, and the Group will report our interim results for the 6 months ended 30 September 2011 in December 2011.'
United Carpets 01709 732 666
Paul Eyre, Chief Executive
Ian Bowness, Finance Director
Cardew Group 020 7930 0777
Jonathan Wright/Mark Percy (Corporate Finance) 020 7107 8000
Katie Ratner / Jacqui Briscoe (Corporate Broking)
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