DFS this week reported 17% growth in online sales in its maiden full-year results as a listed company, and said it was engaging with customers across sales channels using both in-store and at home technology.
The sofa to beds multichannel retailer, listed as a Top100 trader in InternetRetailing’s IRUK500 research, said that the dfs.co.uk website attracted more than 40% of upholstery sector web traffic over the year to August 1.
It has built bridges between the store and online, both by enabling customers to book in-store appointments online, and by trialling in-store virtual reality representations of customers’ orders on in-store displays. A DFS Live app enables customers to talk to to a live chat team via video around the clock.
The retailer has also successfully tested a small store format in London, and now plans two similar stores.
DFS chairman Richard Baker said: “Our continued increase in online participation gives us great confidence that our omnichannel offer will continue to deliver excellent growth.”
DFS reported gross sales of £913.1m in the 52 weeks to August 1, up by 7% on the same time last year. Group revenue of £706.1m was 7.5% up on last time, while pre-tax profits of £10.7m were 197% ahead of the £3.6m reported last time. DFS brand sales increased by 5.8%, while contributions from its Dwell and Sofa Workshop businesses also increased.
Baker added: “The group’s growth strategy is delivering positive results across multiple initiatives and there are still substantial further potential opportunities for DFS in both the UK and international markets under our current strategy.”
• Meanwhile, fellow Top100 trader Dunelm , the homewares retailer, reported online sales up by a quarter, and said it expected “substantial” future growth from its ecommerce channel. Sales in its first quarter, the 13 weeks to October 3, came in at £202.3m, 12% ahead of the same time last year. Home delivery sales, predominantly made over the internet, hit £11.5m, 25.9% ahead of the £9.2m turned over at the same time last year. Meanwhile, like-for-like sales of £171.8m were 4.4% ahead of last time. Dunelm currently sells online and through 149 UK superstores. A further 10 new stores are in the pipeline.
Chief executive Will Adderley said the figures reflected Dunelm’s work on product range, seasonal merchandise and an improved in-store shopping experience.
He added: “The growth achieved in like-for-like store sales is particularly pleasing, and we maintained a solid performance in home delivery following the launch of our new website in July. As the new site becomes fully bedded down, we expect to see substantial further growth through this channel.”