DFS is strong on own brands and licences

UK-based furniture retailer DFS had a good half-year in the six months to January 28 with sales and profits rising.

The chain, which sells its own brand, as well as owning Dwell and making sofas under the French Connection name, saw group revenue rising 6.8% to £379.9m. Pre-tax profit was up 3.1% and its 12-month gross sales passed the £1bn level for the first time ever.

It also said that its ‘Exclusive brands’, which include that French Connection licence, saw sales rising by 2% in the period. Online sales rose 13.9%.

The company has converted warehouse space to retail use and is continuing to do so as the move feeds through into stronger sales. The conversion programme has allowed it to open co-branded DFS and Dwell spaces with 15 pushed through during H1. It also opened two new stores in the Netherlands and one in Spain.

But the retailer said it is seeing “some” impact on its margins due to currency movements, mainly between the UK pound and US dollar.

DFS promotes itself heavily via TV advertising and said awareness and appreciation of its main DFS brand has benefited from successive campaigns. It took these into new territory at Christmas 2016 with a multichannel campaign created in partnership with Aardman Animations to highlight the work of the craftspeople in its UK factories. Earlier this month its Team GB Olympics campaign was also named Retail Advertising Campaign of the Year at the annual Retail Week Awards.

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