// Sales in first 24 weeks of half year rose 19%
// Furniture retailer says online orders were up 76% year-on-year
// Profits expected to come in at upper half of forecasts
DFS Furniture on Tuesday said it had experienced a particularly strong order intake for the first quarter of its financial year, followed by a resilient second quarter, and now expects profits to be in the upper half of forecasts.
The retailer said gross sales in the first 24 weeks of the financial year to December 13 rose 19 per cent, with online orders up 76 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The Derbyshire-based firm said it had benefitted from a shift in spending to home categories, and had made gains in the market share despite many of its showrooms being closed in November.
Out of the 212 showrooms DFS trades from, 52 are now in Tier 4 areas in England, and all 7 of its showrooms in Wales and the Netherlands are currently closed in line with government guidance.
It noted that its second quarter order intake for the first 11 weeks had dropped approximately 5 per cent year-on-year despite the extensive closures.
The retailer said it had also managed to achieve these sales “despite ongoing disruption” at The Port of Felixstowe and raw materials supply issues in Europe.
DFS said it now expects profit before tax and brand amortisation to be in the upper half of the current forecast range.
“Although our financial performance will never be immune to the short term market environment, we believe our cash generation across the cycle and our overall growth prospects will drive attractive long-term financial returns for our shareholders,” the company added as part of its interim update on Tuesday.
“We are working all hours focusing on what we can control to look after our people and our customers. I want to thank our customers for their patience given the ongoing disruption to our deliveries due to port congestion and raw material shortages, as well as apologise to those that have experienced delays,” DFS chief executive Tim Stacey said.
“While the current environment is clearly unpredictable, our business model is resilient and we are well set for medium term growth,” Stacey added.
DFS will update on trading during its first half year on January 12.