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United Carpets sales jump but worried about shortage of fitters

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United Carpets Group plc (LON:UCG) posted a year-on-year jump in sales but expects further challenges to arise from COVID-19 and Brexit.

The chain of specialist retail carpet and floor covering stores posted a 24% increase in sales in the 19 weeks to October 1, having recovered “much of the ground lost during lockdown” when stores were closed for two months.

However, the AIM-listed firm is expecting headwinds from the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic and a potential no-deal Brexit, which may result in additional import tariffs on flooring products, since they are mostly imported from the EU and adverse foreign exchange fluctuations.

The UK firm said strong demand for home improvement products combined with disrupted production due to coronavirus have led to raw material shortages and increased prices across the sector.

The disruption may continue through the busy Christmas period, when “availability of carpet fitting capacity may act as a constraint on achieving our full potential during that period,” said chief executive Paul Eyre in a statement.

As of September 30, the group had cash and cash equivalents of £5mln, of which £2mln were received under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, while it also benefitted from the deferral of £1mln of tax payments.

United Carpets said it has enough capital to weather the challenges ahead.

Shares jumped 15% to 3.75p.

Driver Group expects a 16% decline on yearly profits

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