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DFS points to strong online performance despite 'challenging' market

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DFS this week said a strong online performance was helping to support growth despite "challenging market conditions".

The sofa retailer, a Top350 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said, in a half-year trading update, that sales grew by 4% in the 26 weeks to January 27. However, once sales from recently acquired Sofology were discounted, sales were 3.5% lower than the previous year.

It said its online channels had "once again grown strongly within this overall performance".

During the half-year DFS opened four new UK DFS showrooms and one in the Netherlands, as part of a bricks-and-clicks strategy. It also converted space in DFS showrooms to accommodate five new Dwell stores and five new Sofa Workshop showrooms.

The retailer also bought eight showrooms, the brand and intellectual property of Multiyork, a Top500 retailer until it went into administration earlier this year. Six of the new stores are set to trade as branches of Sofa Workshop and are expected to be open by Easter.

Looking ahead, the retailer said it expected the living room furniture retail market to remain "challenging" in 2017.

"However," it said, "with the benefits of strategic investments feeding through, our expectations for the full year are unchanged."

It predicted "modest" growth in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and asset writedowns) for the full year.

DFS has also worked with IRUK Top150 retailer Joules on a range of sofas as the lifestyle brand moved into homewares.

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