Carpetright boss Wilf Walsh fights on as shares plummet

Laura Onita
‘We won’t let a blip put us off — we can weather the storm,’ said the chief executive: PA

Carpetrigth boss Wilf Walsh tried to put on a brave face on Friday as a savage profit warning sent shares crashing by nearly half.

Shares in the carpet and bed seller were blitzed after the firm slashed profit forecasts for the financial year to between £2 million and £6 million, far shy of City hopes of up to £15.6 million. Shares were down 40% or 65p to 98.85p as the firm joined the string of retailers — including Mothercare, House of Fraser and Debenhams — on the Square Mile’s naughty step this month.

“We’re managing a business that was struggling and we’re making inroads,” Walsh told the Standard. “We won’t let a blip in January put us off — we can weather the storm.”

The same-store sales decline of 3.6% in the 11 weeks to 13 January was down to fewer shoppers going into its stores and weak post-Christmas sales.

“December is a very quiet month for us,” said Walsh. “January opened and the January sales never really got started.”

The retailer, which has more than 400 stores in Britain and 100 abroad, is in the middle of a turnaround. Although purchases are down, people are spending more on average.

Same-store sales in the Netherlands, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland were up 4.3%, but business is volatile.