StockMarketWire.com - Carpetright's first-half losses widened sharply on store closures and weaker sales, though the company expressed optimism in its turnaround plan.

For the six months ended 27 October, pre-tax losses widened to £11.7m from £0.6m, and revenue fell by 15.7% to £191.1m.

Like-for-like sales in the UK declined 12.7% over the half from a year earlier, though second quarter growth was down 8.9%, a more moderate decline compared to the 16.8% fall in the first quarter.

The company said it had closed 54 of the 81 trading stores in the period designated as Category C within the company voluntary agreement, with a further two stores expected to close in the second half.

'Over 52% of our UK stores now have an option to break within two years, providing further flexibility to downsize and/or relocate in a fast changing retail environment,' the company said.

In the rest of Europe like-for-like sales increased by 0.5% down from 6.5% growth seen a year earlier, but a significant improvement from the decline reported in the second half of the last fiscal year.

Net debt was slashed to £12.4m from £53m reported at year end in April, as the turnaround plan got underway and the June equity issue helped shore up the balance sheet.

The company said it was on track to deliver £19m annualised cash savings.

'This is a transitional year for Carpetright as we work through our restructuring plan. We remain on schedule and are confident that this activity is already starting to yield benefits. This is the first stage in returning the Group to sustainable long term profitability,' said Wilf Walsh, Chief Executive.


At 8:12am: [LON:CPR] Carpetright PLC share price was +0.6p at 16.95p



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