Shares of Doncaster-based DFS Furniture rose more than 4% after it said in a half-year trading update that it delivered gross sales growth of 4% in the 26 weeks to January 27, 2018, including the benefit of the acquisition of Sofology.
DFS said that, over the 2017 calendar year, Sofology gross sales were 13% higher than in 2016.
“Gross sales for the group, excluding the sales of Sofology, over the first half of the current financial year were 3.5% lower than the prior year, but 3.3% higher when measured over two years,” said DFS.
“Our online channels, together with our developing Dwell business have once again grown strongly within this overall performance.
“We opened four new UK DFS showrooms and one DFS showroom in the Netherlands during the half year, and converted existing leased space within DFS showrooms to accommodate five new Dwell stores and five new Sofa Workshop showrooms.
“With the like-for-like trading momentum for the group strengthening during the first half of the financial year, we continue to expect the second half of the financial year to demonstrate a stronger year-on-year gross sales trend than the first half.”
In its outlook, DFS said: “We recognise that the living room furniture retail market is likely to remain challenging in 2018, given current consumer confidence levels.
“However, with the benefits of strategic investments feeding through, our expectations for the full year are unchanged.
“We continue to expect modest growth in EBITDA in the 2018 financial year (excluding the impact of acquisitions), driven by the annualisation of product margin and operating cost efficiencies over the second half of the financial year.”