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Carpetright makes good progress in Netherlands, Belgium & Poland
06
Aug '08
Carpetright plc, Europe's leading specialist carpet and floor coverings retailer, publishes its Interim Management Statement for the first 13 weeks of its financial year, representing the trading period from 4 May to 2 August 2008.

Group sales decreased by 9.2%, with the store base at 686 stores by the period end.

The UK and Republic of Ireland business recorded a sales decrease of 14.8%, with like-for-like store sales down by 15.4%. Despite this, there has been further improvement in the gross margin. Within the UK and Republic of Ireland, five stores opened during the period and five have been closed, maintaining the total number of stores at 559, including 60 concessions and 38 Storeys stores.

Our business in the Rest of Europe (The Netherlands, Belgium and Poland), continues to make good progress, with sales in local currency improving by 8.2%, with like-for-like sales in local currency flat. Gross margin in these territories has continued to improve. On 30 June 2008, we completed the €7.8 million acquisition of the trade and assets of Ben de Graaff Tapijt, a floor coverings retailer in the south of The Netherlands. This acquisition brings the store base in the Rest of Europe to 127 stores.

There have been no significant changes to the financial position of the Group since the publication of the Preliminary Results on 1 July 2008.

Lord Harris of Peckham, Chairman and Chief Executive, said: As expected, our UK and Republic of Ireland business has had a demanding first quarter, particularly by comparison to what was our strongest quarter last year and against a background of the lowest levels of consumer confidence and mortgage approvals since records began. Our businesses in the Rest of Europe have, however, continued to make solid progress.

The trading environment in the UK has become more difficult and we can see this continuing for the rest of our financial year. However, we believe that our recent operational improvements enhance our resilience to challenging market conditions and that our strong competitive position will enable the business to continue to grow market share.

The Group will report its pre-close trading update for the first half of its financial year on 28 October 2008.

Carpetright plc

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