United Carpets, the third largest chain of specialist retail carpet and floor covering stores in the UK, has reported a 2.3% decline in revenue to £9.97m for the six months to 30 September, driven by a small decrease in the average number of corporate stores.
Like for like sales across the whole of the network were up 2.9%.
The gross margin was 62.2% compared to 61.9% in the same period in 2016, reflecting a small reduction in the average number of corporate stores offset by a slight increase in the proportion of total sales derived from the warehousing division and some improvement in underlying gross margins.
Combined distribution costs and administrative expenses were slightly lower than in the same period in the prior year as a result of the small reduction in the average number of corporate stores. Distribution costs and administrative expenses were 56.4% of revenue, a small increase from 55.8% in the same period in the prior year, reflecting recruitment in the second half of the prior year to support the group's growing online presence and beds operations.
Operating profit fell from £636,000 to £588,000, reflecting greater investment to support the group's online activities and beds operation. Profit before tax fell to £589,000 from £640,000.
The board has announced an interim dividend of 0.135p per share to be paid on 19 January 2018 to all shareholders on the register at the close of business on 5 January 2018.
Paul Eyre, chief executive, said: "As with other markets there is fragility to the current retail environment which undoubtedly reflects the general uncertainty across the economic and political spectrums. We remain focused on our areas of expertise which ultimately all lead to delivering excellent quality and value for money to our customers."
At 8:13am: (LON:UCG) United Carpets Group PLC share price was +0.13p at 8.63p