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U.K. Sales Grow 6% at Carpetright

By Mark Rogers - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:05PM

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Carpetright issues its first-quarter trading statement.

LONDON -- The shares of Carpetright (CPR) rose 2.4% to 265 pence in early afternoon trading yesterday after the FTSE 250 mid cap revealed like-for-like U.K. sales had jumped 5.6%.

Carpetright, the biggest seller of carpets and floor coverings in Britain, met market expectations by confirming gross margins were likely to improve by 0.2% this year.

The company's performance in the rest of Europe was less impressive, however, with total sales declining 10.2%, mostly due to "deteriorating economic conditions" in the Netherlands.

After suffering a disastrous blow to margins following the housing crisis, Carpetright said it would continue its plans to refurbish its U.K. stores, increase its product range, and focus on digital media marketing.

Chief executive Darren Shapland commented:

Excluding the expected contraction in sales from the wholesale business, our core U.K. retail business would have reported like-for-like sales growth of 6.7% for the period. Whilst the recent cold spring weather has been positive to our sales, we believe this performance reflects the continued success of our program of self-help initiatives.

This has been achieved in a market which remains challenging with consumers very focused on getting a good deal, necessitating a highly visible and compelling promotional program.

With a market cap of 426 million pounds, Carpetright trades on a prospective dividend yield of just 0.8%, and at 58 times this year's expected earnings.

Of course, whether that lofty P/E valuation, sector-leading position, and the wider prospects for the carpet industry all combine to make Carpetright a buy is something only you can decide.

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