DFS rewards shareholders after record profits

Sofa specialist DFS Furniture announced record half year results and said it will reward shareholders with its first special dividend.

DFS CEO Ian Filby said furniture retailing in the UK faces an increased risk of a market slowdown in 2017

The Doncaster-based firm said it is negotiating with suppliers to mitigate the fall in the pound since Brexit, but warned that the UK could see a slowdown in 2017 following the triggering of Article 50.DFS CEO Ian Filby said: “Consumer confidence to date has held up well, but we recognise that furniture retailing in the UK faces an increased risk of a market slowdown in 2017 because of the uncertain political and economic outlook. “Economists are saying the market will be flat this year. I don’t see any signs at the moment of anything like the credit crunch. If you go back to 2008, DFS was massively successful because we are so flexible. “We have so much product made here in the UK, it gives us a real advantage.”The group said that its bigger size gives it significant advantages over rivals.“We are stealing market share,” said Mr Filby.“Our growth has been ahead of the market for the last few years. The market is growing at 2 to 3 per cent and our revenue growth is more like 6 or 7 per cent.”The group said revenue rose 7 per cent to £380m in the six months to January 28.Pre-tax profit rose 3 per cent to £16.7m as it reaped the rewards from opening new stores and a double-digit rise in online sales.It announced a special dividend to shareholders of 9.5p per share on top of a 6 per cent increase in the interim dividend to 3.7p.It said its expectation for full-year pre-tax profits remains unchanged.A separate measure of DFS performance for the 52 weeks to January 28 showed that gross sales had broken through the £1bn mark for the first time in the firm’s 47-year history, rising 7 per cent to £1.01bn.Analyst Caroline Gulliver at Jefferies said: “DFS’s strategy continues to deliver. “Management has been highly consistent in delivering on their strategy and promises since the IPO in 2014.”

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter