For the period covering the 26 weeks to December 29, DFS’s gross sales declined by 6% which the retailer attributed to “a challenging consumer environment, particularly in August and September.”
The retailer adds it is “mindful of the broader political and economic uncertainty that still exists. However, we have made good progress on our strategic initiatives, driving showroom conversion and online growth.”
"DFS’ half-year results follow a strong performance in the previous year to June 30th 2019; although the group did warn of caution ahead in line with uncertainty. Accordingly, these results could be a worrying indication for the wider furniture market, as gross sales fell 6% in a period marked by heatwaves and significant political uncertainty. DFS reported challenges in August and September, two months where consumer confidence fell in the run-up to the proposed 31st October 2019 Brexit date; which has subsequently been delayed to 31st January 2020. This was then compounded by the December general election, announced in late October. However, this outlook has picked up in recent months with a recovery of sales momentum against a backdrop of pent-up demand, buoyed by a return to growth in housing transactions since mid-2019.
Success previous to the latest figures has been underpinned by a new strategy, characterised by enhancements to its online offering, which has coincided with significant growth online, and streamlining of the business and its Sofology, Dwell and Sofa Workshop subsidiaries. This, alongside international growth, positions the group well for the crucial January sales window. With its integration of its on-and-offline channels, and continued store expansion, the group should also weather uncertainty in the coming months, while it is well-placed to boost market share, supported by its track-record for consolidation during uncertainty."