Sofa firm DFS sees ‘footfall drop’ because of coronavirus

DFS in Norwich. Pic: Archant library

DFS in Norwich. Pic: Archant library

Sofa retailer DFS, with stores in Norfolk, has reported falling sales and profits and also impact from the coronavirus outbreak.

The company, with stores in Norwich and King's Lynn, has reported it has been hit by 'challenging market conditions.' The firm also stated footfall to its showrooms had dropped in recent days because of the coronavirus outbreak.

And it warned that the developing Covid-19 outbreak meant it was unable to give accurate forecasts for the rest of the year.

DFS said it had seen 'limited operational impacts', with the company's four Chinese finished goods suppliers shutting down for an extended period after Chinese New Year.

It added that uncertainty surrounding the impact of the virus meant 'it is not possible to give guidance with any certainty for the full year'.

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Sales slipped 5.7% to £488 million for the year to December 29 as the impact of 'political uncertainty' and weaker consumer confidence offset online growth.

And despite trading for the current half-year having started 'satisfactorily' the business had 'observed a change in consumer footfall to its showrooms in very recent days.'

It said that any disruption to order intake over the key Easter and May Bank Holiday trading periods was likely to impact its performance for the 2020 financial year.

Tim Stacey, DFS group CEO, said: 'We continue to make progress on our strategic agenda focused on driving the DFS core business, further developing our group platforms and setting Sofology up for future growth.

'Despite the challenging retail environment, and excluding some isolated systems disruption in Sofa Workshop, our performance over the first half has been as expected, given the exceptional prior year comparative driven by latent demand.

'Notwithstanding the uncertain short-term outlook, we remain confident in the group's financial strength and relative track record of performance in all environments.'

DFS has stores locally in Salhouse road on the Sprowston retail park, Norwich, and also Hardwick Road, King's Lynn.

Three years ago DFS struck a £1.2m deal to buy eight stores leases and the intellectual property rights from Multiyork including its trademark product designs after the East Anglian furniture chain went into financial trouble,

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