In a trading update covering H1 (to 26th December 2021), DFS Furniture has announced strong order intake performance across the half as a whole, and says that the post-Christmas trading period has started well.
Gross sales were up +10% Yo2Y, with delivery throughput accelerating across the half.
Order intake was materially ahead of the FY19 pre-pandemic comparative period, but lower than the exceptional FY21 period, which had benefited from significant pent-up demand post lockdown, says DFS, adding: "Current order intake performance remains strong, with the important post-Christmas trading period starting well. This sustained performance reflects a positive customer response to our initiatives to drive higher AOVs that help mitigate the inflationary trends that we continue to experience.
"Covid-related absences, supplier manufacturing capacity and logistics performance have affected both the furniture and wider retail industry, particularly in the first quarter. We have however seen a strong increase in deliveries across our second quarter, with overall gross sales in Q2 +23% higher than in Q1. Looking forward, as a result of the significant recent operational investment in The Sofa Delivery Company, combined with the additional production capacity from new manufacturing partners, we have confidence that delivery levels will continue to grow across H2 FY22.
"Our expectations for full year FY22 profit before tax and brand amortisation are unchanged," says DFS. "This expected performance is underpinned by the current strong order bank, as well as recent trading momentum, that is expected to also generate incremental profit in FY23.
"Manufacturing and logistics disruption remains a risk going into H2. However, the accelerated deliveries we have seen in Q2, as well as the onboarding of new manufacturers and our recent investment in the Sofa Delivery Company, provides us with confidence as we enter the second half of the financial year."
Group chief executive Tim Stacey adds: "While the market remains hard to predict, we believe our scale, brand strength and integrated retail strategy will allow us to drive market share gains ahead of the competition.
"Looking ahead, we will continue to invest in our digital platforms and our showrooms, our delivery network, our UK manufacturing capacity, and, with expansion into other home categories, we are well positioned to succeed."
DFS also confirmed the appointment of Emma Dinnis as MD of Sofology. Emma, who boasts extensive retail experience with IKEA, Arcadia Group, Marks and Spencer and, most recently, as CCO of M&Co, joined the group on 1st November and has now commenced her role.
The group will announce its interim results for the period ending 26th December 2021 on 15th March.