Rising demand coupled with a proportionally lower cost base helped flooring market leader Carpetright to a big profits turnaround in 2014–15.

Group sales increased by 3.3 per cent to £462.6m, buoyed by strong like-for-like growth in the UK (+7.3 per cent) and a return to positive same-store sales in the rest of Europe (+0.3 per cent).

The increase in sales came despite a net decline in store numbers, with Carpetright trading from 460 UK stores at the 2nd May balance sheet date, 12 fewer than a year earlier. Store numbers outside the UK fell by a net five to 137.

Underlying profit before tax near trebled to £13m, with statutory pre-tax earnings returning positive, with the floorcoverings market leader making £6.6m, from a £7.3m loss 12 months prior.

CEO Wilf Walsh said: “While this is just the beginning of the journey to transform Carpetright, we have a clear direction and the positive results we are seeing from a number of our initial activities give us confidence that we are on the right path.”       

Cash generation helped the retailer move from an £11.1m net debt position to having net cash of £0.5m by the year-end. Performance has continued to improve in the period since 2nd May, with Carpetright saying UK like-for-likes are up 4.9 per cent and overseas by 7.4 per cent in the eight weeks to 27th June.

* Except where stated, figures are on a pro-forma 52-week basis. Statutory figures include a 53rd week, which contributed an extra £7.2m in revenue and £1.2m to pre-tax profit

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