In its H1 trading update covering the 26 weeks to 27th January 2018, DFS states that its performance remains "on track" despite continued challenging market conditions. The group delivered gross sales growth of +4.0%, measured against the comparable 26-week period in the prior financial year (including the benefit of the acquisition of Sofology).
The acquisition of Sofology was completed on 30th November 2017, and the group has started the process of synergy release through the sharing of purchasing benefits. Over the 2017 calendar year, Sofology gross sales were some +13% higher than in 2016.
Gross sales for the group, excluding Sofology's, 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.
The group's online channels, together with its developing Dwell business, once again grew well.
The group opened four new UK DFS showrooms and one DFS showroom in the Netherlands, and converted existing leased space within DFS showrooms to accommodate five new Dwell stores and five new Sofa Workshop showrooms.
DFS also completed the acquisition of eight showrooms, the brand and the intellectual property of Multiyork, and expects the acquired stores – of which six will trade as Sofa Workshop – to open before Easter.
With LFL trading momentum strengthening during H1, DFS continues to expect H2 to demonstrate a stronger YOY gross sales trend than H1.