Furniture specialist DFS, which owns DFS, Sofa Workshop, Dwell and Sofology, reported that sales slumped 27% to £725 million in the 52 weeks to 28 June 2020, hit hard by the closure of stores during the COVID-19 pandemic during the final quarter.
DFS said that it had been performing in line with expectations until the lockdown started in late March 2020. Despite an improvement in sales since stores began reopening, DFS announced it would be cutting jobs.
“DFS’ results give an early indication of the drag that the quarter from March to June will serve on the latest annual performances among furniture retailers. Prior to this disruption, sales at the group had fallen 6% in the first half of the latest year, which was attributed to a challenging consumer environment, particularly amid uncertainty in August and September. However, this 27% loss highlights the impact of this uncertainty.
Worryingly for wider home retail, DFS is also among the best-equipped multichannel furniture retailers, following extensive investment in e-commerce, and the success of its Sofology brand in recent years. Accordingly, these results reveal the challenges ahead for the sector in 2020. Moreover, despite sharp sales growth in the month from June, this is the result of pent-up demand, as many consumers necessitate an in-store visit prior to big-ticket purchases; and as such, this relief will not be the case in the coming months. These headwinds, and the impact of this uncertainty is discussed in more detail in the upcoming Furniture Retailing – UK, July 2020 report.”