Carpetright takes a step in new direction to broaden its appeal

​Carpetright’s new chief executive promised to broaden the appeal of the floor coverings business after admitting it is seen as too value focused.

Wilf Walsh, who recently took the helm following the departure of founder and veteran carpet retailer Lord Harris of Peckham, said one of his priorities is to address a number of negative perceptions around the brand.

His comments came as Carpetright posted stronger than expected half-year results, with annual profits now set to be near the top end of forecasts.

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Underlying profits more than doubled to £6.7m. Like-for-like revenues in the UK increased by 6.5 per cent on the back of improved consumer confidence and the impact of the company’s continued focus on price promotions.

Mr Walsh said Carpetright’s reputation for value works well with its core customer base​,​ but this also deters some customers.

He said his initial assessment found a “fundamentally sound business”, but one that requires some updating and repositioning to capitalise on its market leadership position.

Mr Walsh, who was managing director of bookmaker Coral, said broadening the appeal of the brand, while retaining its traditional customer base, is at the heart of his plans for the business.

The UK store estate reduced by a net figure of nine during the period to 463, trading from four​ million sq ft of store space, more than two per cent lower year-on-year. More than half the company’s stores have now been modernised.

Carpetright said trading continues to improve in its rest of Europe division, which covers Ireland, Netherlands and Belgium.