DFS books sales rise amid economic uncertainty

// Underlying gross sales up 10%
// Gross like-for-likes up 29%
// Latent customer demand credited for performance amid backdrop of uncertainty

DFS has credited latent customer demand after it reported sales growth in its latest trading update, which also announced the resignation of chief financial officer Nicola Bancroft.

For the five-month period ending December 30, the furniture retailer recorded underlying gross sales growth of 10 per cent despite a challenging consumer environment.

The company added that it experienced 29 per cent gross like-for-like sales increase across all its retail fascias – including Sofology, Dwell and Sofa Workshop – as well as a 22 per cent surge in online gross sales.

DFS said trading during the period was bolstered by customers who deferred their purchase from the fourth quarter of the previous financial year due to warmer-than-usual weather.

While the firm maintained its full-year profit expectations, it remained cautious of the wider economic uncertainty that may affect their results.

“While we have achieved a good sales performance, helped by latent demand, we remain cautious around our full-year outlook, and as such our profit expectations for the full year remain unchanged,” DFS stated.

“We are mindful of the broader political and economic uncertainty and the further risk this may pose to consumer confidence and lead times for the proportion of our made-to-order products that we source overseas.

“However, we do expect benefits of previous and ongoing investments in our online activities, our final-mile two man logistics and the continued integration of Sofology, together with progress being made at Dwell and Sofa Workshop, to help mitigate this challenging market environment.”

Meanwhile, chief development officer Mike Schmidt will step into the chief financial officer role on a temporary basis after Bancroft exits DFS in April.

The retailer is set to unveil its interim results for the period ending December 30 on March 14.

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