Carpetright CEO steps down as firm warns on profit


By James Davey

LONDON (Reuters) - Carpetright (LSE:CPR), Britain's biggest floor coverings retailer, warned on year profit and parted company with its chief executive, with the firm's 71-year old founder temporarily resuming a full-time executive role.

The firm said on Friday CEO Darren Shapland will step down from his role with immediate effect, replaced by chairman and major shareholder Philip Harris, who will become full time executive chairman, in the second management shake-up in as many years.

It also warned that as a result of a combination of a softer market in Britain and a further deterioration in the Netherlands, it was likely full year profit will be significantly below previous expectations. Analysts were forecasting a 2013-14 pretax profit of 13-14.6 million pounds ($21-$23.6 million) prior to Friday's update.

Carpetright shares opened 12 percent lower.

Harris, a self-made millionaire, prominent education philanthropist and supporter of Britain's ruling Conservative Party who sits in the upper house of Parliament, has been selling carpets for over half a century.

He had stepped down as Carpetright's CEO 18 months ago when he was succeeded by Shapland, a former finance director of supermarket J Sainsbury (SBRY.L).

Graham Harris, currently Carpetright's trading director, will join the board and become chief operating officer.

In the 10 weeks to September 29 sales at stores open over a year were down 2.5 percent in the UK and down 7.6 percent in the rest of Europe division made up of the Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland.

(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young)

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