Chloe Shakesby

UK flooring chain lays foundations to tackle "challenging retail environment" with 24% sales increase

A UK flooring retailer has announced that its sales have increased by nearly a quarter since May.

United Carpets Group, headquartered in Rotherham, saw like for like sales rise by 23.8 per cent compared to 2019 in the period from 22 May to 1 October this year.

This comes following an eight week closure of all locations due to the spread of coronavirus.

The chain, which has 56 stores, said it is in a “strong” financial position, with cash and cash equivalents of approximately £5.4m.

However, it said that it is preparing for a number of challenges in anticipation of the UK’s exit from the EU, the long term impact of coronavirus and increased input prices.

Paul Eyre, chief executive of United Carpets, commented: “Since our stores were allowed to reopen, we have been encouraged by a strong period of trading.

“Customers appear to have been making up for the purchases they would have made during lockdown, with an increased focus on home improvements.

“Looking ahead, however, there are a number of significant, potential headwinds facing our sector and the UK economy in general.

“Strong demand for home improvement products combined with disrupted production due to Covid-19, have led to raw material shortages and, consequently, increased input prices across our sector.

“As activity historically increases in the run up to Christmas, availability of carpet fitting capacity may act as a constraint on achieving our full potential during that period.

“The longer-term impact from Covid-19 on unemployment and economic recovery may lead to a challenging retail environment in 2021.

“Further government restrictions on movements may deter consumer demand and a “no-deal” Brexit may result in additional import tariffs on flooring products (the majority of which are imported from the European Union) and may also result in adverse foreign exchange fluctuations.

“Nevertheless, we have a strong balance sheet, with appropriate financing, and the board therefore believes that the group is in a good position to navigate its way through the anticipated challenges.”

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