Carpets, rugs and laminates purveyor Carpetright (CPR) has managed to weave encouraging annual growth on home turf and stitch-up a return to profit in Europe too. An update on steps to broaden the appeal of the brand is enticing buyers, the shares rising 33.5p (5.7%) to 623p.
You can read the Essex-based retailer's finals in full here. Key takeaways include a 183% leap in underlying pre-tax profit to £13 million and 7.3% UK like-for-like sales growth over the 53 weeks ended 2 May.
New CEO Wilf Walsh also announces a return to profit and like-for-like sales growth in the Rest of Europe business that includes Belgium, the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland. A swing from net debt to net cash is a further positive, though the company remains cautious and hasn't declared a dividend.
There's a positive current trading update, with UK like-for-like sales 4.9% ahead and Rest of Europe same-store sales up 7.4% in the eight weeks to 27 June. Walsh provides a progress update on a raft of strategic initiatives unveiled alongside December's interims from Carpetright, geared into the housing market and which posted a string of profit warnings following the onset of the financial crisis.
Appointed CEO a year ago, Walsh insists these strategic initiatives 'will broaden the appeal of the Carpetright brand and reposition the business, to ensure it is better able to capitalise on its market leadership position.'
Among the key areas of focus, including digital and product initiatives and a reduction in retail square footage, is the revitalisation of the Carpetright brand, which enjoys high awareness and a strong reputation for value among its core, price-conscious customer demographic. Carpetright is now looking to take the brand upmarket by opening trial stores in and around London in an attempt to lure in more affluent customers – a new contemporary logo (see above) is being tested as part of the store trial.