A challenging market continues to concern soft furnishing retailers, with both United Carpets and Laura Ashley warning of tough times ahead.
Specialist retail carpet and floor cover chain United Carpets reported a drop in pretax profit for the year to the end of March - £1.02 million, down from £2.03 million a year earlier.
Turnover was £17.6 million, up from £15.1 million with like for like sales ahead 2.8 per cent against the prior year.
Since the end of March, like for like sales have strengthened further and are up 8.7 per cent, the company added.
Chief executive Paul Eyre said the year saw fewer store openings than had originally been expected and tougher trading conditions than the previous year.
"In light of this, our performance has been more than creditable," he said.
"The second half was strong, and this growth in sales has continued into the current reporting period."
Mr Eyre said the business fundamentals remained good and the group was well positioned to continue rolling out its franchise concept.
Laura Ashley provided more upbeat results as a result of its cost cutting.
The firm saw a lift in UK retail like-for-like sales 14.3 per cent in the 24 weeks to July 15.
Laura Ashley, which made losses of £200,000 in the first half of 2005, said it expects a pretax profit for the six months to July 29 to be in the region of £2.5 million to £3 million.
However, the company warned that it still faced difficult trading.