Carpetright shares fall as much as 48% on warning

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Shares in Carpetright plunged as much as 48 per cent after the flooring and homewares retailer cut its full-year profit forecast by two-thirds following a dismal start to its key post-Christmas trading period. In the latest example of nervous consumers holding back from buying big-ticket items, Carpetright said on Friday that “trading in the important post-Christmas period has been significantly behind expectations”. The group added this “sharp deterioration in UK trade has had a significant impact on profitability and our outlook for the reminder of the year”. Wilf Walsh, Carpetright’s chief executive, said: “Business has been very, very quiet. “As we have called this three weeks into our key trading period, it is still difficult to know whether it is a blip or a trend . . . But we are being cautious and taking the worst view that it is a trend.” After initially falling as much as 48 per cent, the company’s shares later recovered to stand 40 per cent lower at 66.50p. Mr Walsh said that when customers are browsing for carpets and having their houses measured up by Carpetright’s staff. They had become reluctant to commit to the purchase. “People converting [to a sale] is the issue,” he said. “They are kicking tyres.”

Source: ft