Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market

Business news round-up

Published: 29 June 2007
Debenhams leases Irish outlet; Carpetright targets investments to fuel improvements; Galiform restructures
Debenhams is to lease an 88,000 sq ft store in Dublin to Arnotts, Ireland's oldest department store.

Debenhams said the deal would add £1m to its bottom line. The retailer's moves follows the acquisition of nine Roches department stores at the end of last year.

Galiform has announced it will now focus on the manufacturing of rigid kitchen cabinets; its Hull operation, which produces kitchen components, will be relocated to Howden and warehousing to a Northampton national distribution centre.

Benefits in costs are expected to come through in 2009 at the same time as the opening of new-style Howden outlets.

Carpetright has said it is confident investments in stores, ranges, a new distribution centre, IT systems and the recent acquisition of £30m turnover store Storeys in May will support future growth.

Britain's largest flooring retailer made the announcement during the release of its final results, which showed pre-tax profits were £57.7m (£56.7m). Overall sales were +5.4% at £475.9m (£451.4m).

Carpetright said it has seen a continued move towards heavy quality twist carpets pushing up average transaction value. During the year it has introduced a new higher priced range with advertising targeting these ranges.

Additional strong performers include a stabilised laminate and wood market, and a doubling in the sales of rugs with a wider range and specific rug areas created. It has set a target of 5% of turnover to be generated by rugs.

Carpetright expects to open a net 25 stores and increase sales space by 2.5%.

The group has, however, warned of the pressure on the consumer purse from interest rate rises and its short-term prospects.

In addition to financial concerns, earlier this month Carpetright's chairman and chief executive, Lord Philip Harris of Peckham said he was weighing up a bid for the firm.

HomeForm Group owner of the fully-fitted kitchen and bathroom brands Moben, Sharps, Kitchens Direct and Dolphin has released development plans for its 163 showrooms.

Management at the company said it plans to focus on concept showrooms in key locations alongside a refurbishment programme of existing outlets and, in some instances, relocate stores. It will also conduct range reviews, change back office, sales and warehousing.

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