Following today’s release of DFS H1 figures for FY2018/19, Matt Walton, senior retail analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, comments: ‘‘The upholstery market leader finished 2018 on a high with an impressive performance across the board; revenues increased by 29.1%, and by 9.9% with Sofology included for the whole period, to £422.3m as it benefitted from sales deferred due to the weather. Each fascia experienced like-for-like growth, net debt fell in absolute terms, profit before tax more than doubled and full year profit expectations remain unchanged.
“The exceptional growth of 21.1% at Sofology drove growth but it was also supported by DFS’ investment in its ranges and multichannel, with mobile a key focus. Mobile visitor conversion increased significantly with orders and traffic increasing by 72% and 9% respectively as its new optimised webpage resonated with shoppers. DFS has also introduced an innovation team to develop new ranges to maintain its appeal among a wider customer base. With buying into a new look a growing purchase motivator and John Lewis set to “completely relaunch” its furniture offer, this is a strong move for DFS to stay in-line with trends and ahead of competitors.
“DFS has signalled, however, that early 2019 has been tougher, as it experienced “a softer start” with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit denting confidence. GlobalData’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker reiterates this with the proportion of shoppers that intend to spend less on furniture in the next six months up by 2.2 and 0.6 percentage points in January and February respectively. However, with the greater potential at Sofology, improved consumer spending power and returning confidence (assuming a Brexit deal is completed soon) feeding through into big ticket and DFS continuing to invest in multichannel and its range, it is well placed to outperform the furniture market in 2019.”