UK carpet manufacturers are to launch a £1m television advertising campaign in a bid to stem growing competition from hard flooring, including timber.

The move is an extension of the Carpet Foundation‘s “Come back to carpet” campaign which was launched last year.

The counter attack follows the rapid demise of carpet sales which have plunged from 212 million m2 in 1990 to 197 million m2 in 2001 – a drop which has seen some carpet manufacturers go to the wall.

As carpet sales fall, wood and laminate flooring has seen a dramatic increase. In 1990 22.8 million m2 worth £98.8m were purchased. By 2001 that had risen to 59.9 million m2 worth £393.3m.

Carpet Foundation marketing director Rupert Anton said the growth of wooden flooring was the main reason behind the decision to use television advertising. He added: “It represents a big spend for us.

“The industry has also been suffering from a culmination of cheap imports, fashion, lack of promotion, lack of resources and a faltering economy,” he added.

International Decorative Surfaces managing director John Bagshaw said: “The pundits who predicted that laminate flooring could not sustain its growth levels have been proved very wrong. Even more so because it has opened up people’s imagination to use other types of hard flooring such as solid wood, engineered flooring and tiles.

” The new generation of underfloor heating – which dispels the myth that hard flooring equals cold flooring – will, in my opinion, further boost sales. Hard flooring is without doubt here to stay as a staple of the modern home.”