Airea using a bit of self-help

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CARPET maker Airea said it sees little sign of improvement on the “depressed” high street, but is optimistic about a better second half thanks to self-help measures.

The Ossett, West Yorkshire-based group said tough markets drove down profits and sales in the final six months of 2011.

The company operates under two brands – upmarket Ryalux used in homes, and Burmatex, which serves the office, contract and commercial sectors.

Residential sales have been hit by “fragile” customer demand, said the group, which sells carpets through chains including Allied Carpets and John Lewis.

Finance director Roger Salt said while some store refurbishment contracts with major retailers have “slowed down and in some cases stopped altogether”, it has been winning other business.

“When we start getting a little bit more help from the market we will start being able to pay our shareholders back,” he said.

Airea said it made “good progress” on strategic targets including shrinking the number of surplus properties it leases, launching new Burmatex branding and products, plus improving earnings per share.

“There is little sign of an improvement in the trading environment,” said Airea. “The second half should see the benefit of an improved market share and a number of sales and operational initiatives.”

Revenues slid 7.8 per cent to £13.9m during the first half. It reported pre-tax profits down 18 per cent to £155,000, hurt by raw material inflation. It will not pay an interim dividend.