Carpetright to target richer shoppers with new ranges

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​CARPETRIGHT has outlined plans to broaden the brand’s appeal ​to attract customers who see it as too down market.

New chief executive ​​Wilf Walsh said he plans 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.

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.​

The group, which had made a string of recent profit warnings due to tough trading in the Netherlands and weak demand in the UK, said on Monday underlying pre​-​tax profit had more than doubled to ​£​6.7​m in the six months to Oct​ober​ 25.

The firm said current market expectations for the year to May 2 range from ​£8m to £11m.

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, ​i​s 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.

Analyst John Stevenson at Peel Hunt said: “Fundamentally, the Carpetright store environment has become tired and over-reliant on blanket discounting. Having already started to address the price proposition, new CEO Wilf Walsh has a number of strategic priorities.

“Work will be focused on revitalising the Carpetright brand and widening its appeal. Management has already started to work on a range review, while a new customer service programme will commence in January.”