Carpet and flooring retailer Carpetright said trading conditions in the UK and Ireland were experiencing the lowest level of consumer confidence since records began. The Essex based retailer is mid-way through a major Microsoft implementation to standardise its IT systems.

“As expected, our UK and Republic of Ireland business has had a demanding first quarter, particularly by comparison to what was our strongest quarter last year,” said Lord Harris of Peckham, the chief executive of Carpetright. Harris said in the interim management statement that consumers in the two countries are showing the lowest levels of consumer confidence and mortgage approvals since records began.
Carpetright reported a group wide sales decrease of 9.2 per cent across its 686 stores; sales in the UK and Ireland decreased by 14.8 per cent.

In Europe, sales improved by 8.2 per cent. Carpetright trades in Belgium, Holland and Poland. “Our businesses in the rest of Europe have continued to make solid progress,” Harris said.

Last month Carpetright announced a £4.7 million programme to improve its business information systems with the adoption of Microsoft Dynamics, formerly known as Navision, which is being implemented K3 Landsteinar. The programme, scheduled to be completed by October will integrate with the existing SAP platform and manage in-store customer orders, quotes, stock management and electronic point of sale offers. It is hoped that the completed integration will cut costs, improve the communications between warehouses and head office as well as improve the supply chain.

Looking ahead, Harris is confident that the integration will pay a dividend to the company. “The trading environment in the UK has become more difficult and we can see this continuing for the rest of our financial year. However we believe that our recent operational improvements enhance our resilience to challenging market condition,” he said. Carpetright is also investing in new warehouse facilities to reduce costs.

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