FLOOR coverings retailer Carpetright says its financial performance is improving steadily, though its UK division continues to prop up weaker European performances.

The firm said UK like-for-like sales increased 6.1 per cent for the 13 weeks to July 26, with total sales rising 5.2 per cent.

Bosses said it was helped by growth in May, June and July, as the firm benefited from comparisons against last year’s prolonged spell of hot weather.

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However, the group, which owns Sunderland-based Storey Carpets, revealed its European business remains difficult, with like-for-like sales across the Netherlands, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland falling by 3.6 per cent.

Total sales declined by 3.9 per cent, though bosses said that drop has reduced.

Last month bosses revealed pre-tax losses of £7.2m for the year to April 26, compared to a £5.1m deficit 12 months earlier.

A statement said: “The UK business saw small but steady improvements, and sales across the rest of our Europe business have shown signs of improvement with a reduction in the rate of decline.

“It is encouraging to report our businesses in the Netherlands and Belgium have returned to profit in the first quarter.

“Notwithstanding the continued tough trading conditions, our expectations for the current year are unchanged.”

The company added Wilf Walsh is now chief executive, taking over from founder Lord Harris of Peckham, who is now non-executive chairman.