Steinhoff International, which owns UK-based retailers Harveys and Bensons, has issued its long-awaited FY results for 2018 (to 30th September).
In the UK, household goods revenue decreased by -11% to €631m (a LFL decline of -5%). As well as difficult trading conditions, Steinhoff blames a proportion of this performance on its competitors' behaviour, stating: "The Steinhoff events were publicised during the household goods division’s peak trading period, and this was actively exploited by competitors. This had a negative impact on customer confidence in our brands."
Bensons reported a revenue decline that was marginal on a LFL basis, but managed to maintain margin, in-store customer conversion and online sales. In addition, it continued its store rationalisation programme, reducing its portfolio from 267 stores to 252.
The loss-making Harveys also reported a decline in trade – in part due to the warm weather and the distraction of the FIFA World Cup, which "resulted in a substantial reduction in store footfall during the summer months".
Harveys' management has implemented a turnaround plan, with initiatives including: the appointment of a new senior leadership team; a new marketing and brand messaging campaign; a targeted uplift in conversion rates; and a focus on efficiencies and cost savings.
The delay in the results' publication was due to significant accounting irregularities coming to light in late 2017.
Steinhoff's CEO Louis du Preez describes the last 18 months, which have seen PwC implement a forensic investigation into Steinhoff's finances and a complex remediation plan put into place, as the most challenging in the group's history.
Chairperson Heather Sonn states: "The journey to restore the company’s reputation will be a long one and, as we pursue this aim, we understand that we will remain under intense scrutiny. However, very real progress has already been made. The completion of the forensic investigation."