Carpets firm Victoria warned about profits yesterday after sales slumped by almost a fifth in the UK.
The Kidderminster-based company, which makes and sells carpets to firms including John Lewis, said full-year results were likely to be “significantly below” market expectations as revenues and profitability suffered in its third quarter. Revenues for October to December were down 10.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis compared with a year ago, sliding 18.7 per cent in the UK, 7.2 per cent in Australia and 28 per cent in Ireland.
The company - whose brands include Victoria, Munster, Navan, Colin Campbell and Nature’s Carpet - said it had grown its market share despite the worsening conditions and that all of its operating businesses remained profitable.
But shares were down 11 per cent after it warned that trading conditions would remain very difficult, due to faltering consumer confidence and the crippled housing market. Companies selling big-ticket items for the home have been among the worst-affected by the downturn as house moves dry up and consumers rein in their spending.
In December, another carpets and flooring firm, Carpetright, issued a profits warning after revealing that pre-tax profits for the 26 weeks to November 1 slumped 66 per cent to £9.5 million. Victoria was founded in 1895 in the Scottish town of Kirkcaldy, taking its name from its location on Victoria Street, before relocating five years later to Kidderminster in Worcestershire.
It has grown to have an international presence, with recent acquisitions including Munster Carpets and Navan Carpets in Ireland, and is the largest supplier of carpet to John Lewis.
Victoria employs almost 700 people, half of whom are in the UK and Ireland, with the remainder being in Australia.