Homestyle narrows the field for beds division sale as it reports better half-year results
Furniture retailer Homestyle plans to proceed with the sale of its beds chain despite an improvement in group performance.

Losses before tax at the group in the 26 weeks to October 30 fell by a third to£6.2 million from£9.5 million in the same period the year before. Sales leaped from£182.5 million to£206.5 million and continued to rise by 13 per cent in the 12 weeks to January 22.

Homestyle said talks over a potential sale of the 430-store Bensons beds division are progressing with an unnamed management buy-in team. Executive chairman David Brock said in a statement that he expects the sale to be complete by spring.

Evolution analyst Nick Bubb said: 'It is interesting that the group still feels the need to reduce debt, even though the sale of Bensons for a mooted£120 million should, in theory, easily clear its total debt and VAT liability.'

The group said that, as of October 30, net debt stood at£57.6 million compared with£118.4 million the previous year.

Homestyle executive chairman David Brock said of the group's turnaround strategy: 'The focus of the new management team has been on reducing group debt to more appropriate levels, reinvigorating the furniture division and supporting the continued successful development of the beds division.'