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Upturn at United

United Carpets has seen a small upturn in sales in recent weeks.

Like for like sales rose by 0.1% in the 11 weeks to 16 December. It follows a 1.8% drop in the six months to 30 September.

Sales rose by £840,000 to £10.81m, helped by an extra company owned store, but pre-tax profits fell from £589,000 to £121,000 as it spent more on marketing during the summer and increased its bad debt provision as ‘a small number of individual franchisees have struggled to meet their ongoing financial commitments.’ Like for like beds sales dropped by 3%.

Since the period end it has opened branches in Altrincham and Bristol, increasing the number to 60, 49 of which are franchises.

‘Over the summer months the exceptionally warm, sunny weather and the World Cup combined to make the first half of this financial year a very challenging trading period. We worked hard to maintain sales levels but to do so required increased investment in marketing and further support for the franchise network. In addition, we have continued to invest in online activities and to explore future business development opportunities to better prepare the group during a challenging period of changing shopping habits. With no immediate signs of respite in the general environment and continuing Brexit uncertainties, we entered the second half cautiously, however, recent trading performance has shown some more encouraging signs which, if sustained, should result in a better second half result and a reasonable outcome for the year,’ says Paul Eyre, United Carpets chief executive.