DFS falls 20% as it blames election for profit warning

Shares of Doncaster-based furniture retail company DFS fell more than 20% after it blamed “customer uncertainty regarding the general election” for a profit warning in a trading update.

DFS said the tough trading means it now anticipates EBITDA over the full year will be lower than market expectations for the current year and in the range of £82 million to £87 million.

“In our half year results announcement on 30 March 2017, we highlighted the expectation of a softer market environment in the second half of our financial year,” said DFS.

“The trading environment has however recently weakened beyond our expectation, with significant declines in store footfall leading to a material reduction in customer orders. 

“We believe these demand effects are market-wide, in line with industry indicators, and are linked to customer uncertainty regarding the general election and the uncertain macroeconomic environment. 

“As stated previously, the upholstery market does see short-term demand fluctuations from time-to-time, within an overall historical trend of long-term growth …

“We believe our expectations for the next financial year are realistic based on consumer confidence remaining broadly in line with current levels, given its consequent impact on upholstery demand. 

“We expect continued strong cash generation that has allowed the recent announcement of a £20 million special dividend in addition to our ordinary dividend.”