CARPETRIGHT’S new boss pledged to refresh more stores today but insisted there was no need for a radical overhaul of the floor coverings retailer.
Darren Shapland, who took over as chief executive from veteran boss Lord Harris seven months ago, said self-help initiatives should help underpin momentum in the UK, where sales have just returned to underlying growth.
Operating profits in the UK jumped to £5.2m in results for the 26 weeks to October 27 announced today, up from £800,000 a year earlier.
However the company barely managed a profit in the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland over the period and when including one-off items such as property costs it recorded a bottom-line half-year loss of £7.9 million.
Mr Shapland said that on the evidence of trading through the important September to November peak period the group was “well-managed and that no fundamental shift in strategy is required”.
He added: “That said, we believe there are opportunities to accelerate the pace of a number of current self-help initiatives.”
The former Sainsbury’s executive said he planned to step up the ongoing modernisation of the store estate, having so far spent around £50,000 per store on updating 92 locations to the company’s latest format.
By the end of the financial year in April it expects to have 180 stores - 40% of the current UK store estate - under the new look, with a more contemporary feel that bosses believe is easier for customers to shop in.
The company opened five stores and closed 15 during the half-year, mainly as a result of the need to reduce overlap in towns where it has more than one outlet.