Carpetright Boss Quits Amid Profit Warning
High street furnishing chain Carpetright has issued a profit warning and parted company with its chief executive.
The firm said Darren Shapland would step down from his role with immediate effect, being replaced by chairman and founder Lord Harris of Peckham.
Lord Harris will become full-time executive chairman.
Shares slid 10% in early trading, easing to 7% down, as the update dashed hopes in the City that better conditions in the property market were benefiting Carpetright.
The firm added that as a result of a combination of a softer UK market and a further step down in the Netherlands, it was likely full-year profit would be significantly below previous expectations.
In the 10 weeks to September 29, sales at stores open more than a year were down 2.5% in the UK and down 7.6% in the Rest of Europe division - made up of the Netherlands, Belgium and the Irish Republic.
Lord Harris described trading conditions in Britain as volatile and in the Netherlands as "extremely difficult".
The company was founded in 1988 with a single outlet in Canning Town, east London, and was floated on the London Stock Exchange five years later.
It now trades from 616 stores, including 474 in the UK and 95 in the Netherlands.
Lord Harris will run the business with Graham Harris, who is currently trading director, but will step up to the role of chief operating officer.
Mr Shapland joined Carpetright from Sainsbury's 17 months ago and oversaw a programme of store refurbishments, improved product ranges and increased digital marketing.
Until recently, like-for-like sales were on a positive trend, with annual profits more than double the previous year at £9.7m.