Three-year old floorings chain Tapi Carpets has started laying off staff, as it is struck by the same torrid market conditions that hurt its rival Carpetright and other retailers.
The fledgling firm – backed by Carpetright’s founder Lord Harris of Peckham – kicked off consultation meetings earlier this week, and anticipates making redundancies ‘in the near future’, according to documents seen by This is Money.
Staff at stores in Gateshead, Slough and Aberdeen are among those impacted by the job cuts, which the firm put down to ‘difficult trading circumstances’ in some parts of the country.
Tapi Carpets has started making redundancies at some of its stores amid tough trading
Tapi Carpets was launched in 2015 by the son of Lord Harris, Martin Harris, who worked alongside his father at Carpetright for 23 years.
He set up Tapi shortly after he and his father – nick-named the Carpet King – stepped down from the former family business.
Lord Harris (above) founded Carpetright in 1988 but now he and his son are behind Tapi
At the time, Harris said there was room for both carpet firms in the market, but a bitter rivalry between the two firms has since become apparent.
Tapi has piled pressure on the market-leader by opening many of its 100 shops less than a mile away from Carpetright’s most profitable stores and poaching a chunk of its workforce.
According to accounts filed at Companies House, Tapi Carpets made a £10.9million loss in the year to December 2017 on sales of £56.9million, as it ploughed ahead with an aggressive store opening mission.
Tapi opened its 100th store earlier this year
Harris previously said that the business would have around 200 stores and turn a profit by 2018.
But he has since rowed back on these claims, setting the store number at around 125 instead and putting talk of profits on ice.
Tapi Carpets is the latest in a long line of big-ticket retailers to fall victim to tough trading conditions. A lethal cocktail of consumer uncertainty, fierce competition, and rising costs has hurt its retail nemesis too.
Wilf Walsh (above) took the reins at Carpetright in 2014 when Lord Harris retired from the firm
Carpetright, which Lord Harris founded back in 1988, is in the midst of an urgent restructure as it culls 92 shops from its cumbersome store estate and attempts to restore profitability. The store closures will impact around 300 staff.
Earlier this week, Carpetright said sales over the last six months had been ‘heavily impacted’ by its store closures and remained ‘negative’ in the Autumn.
Martin Harris said: ‘I won’t comment on any individual case. There are individual cases where people have been removed in stores that aren’t doing enough business.
‘As a business we’ve grown at an incredible rate and have the best Trust Pilot score in the country. The net gain month-on-month is always positive.’