DFS has reported a healthy increase in its underlying profit before tax and hailed the progress made following the launch of its new strategy, despite the headwinds facing the sector.

The furniture retailer recently changed its accounting year end date from July 31 to June 30 and as a result published both figures for the 48 weeks to June 30, and pro-forma 52 weeks to July 31 figures.

Its pro-forma 52 weeks underlying profit before tax was up 31.1% to £50.2m. However, profit before tax on the shorter, 48 weeks was £22.4m, a 13.1% decrease year on year, albeit against a 52-week period.

DFS also reported like-for-like sales growth “across all brands and channels” – with pro-forma gross sales up 14.4%, and pro-forma revenue up 14.4%. In terms of the 48 weeks numbers, gross sales and revenues increased by 3.5%.

The retailer also hailed the progress made during the year on its new strategy, with DFS seeing a return to like-for-like growth, driven by a 16.2% growth in online sales.

Sofology also registered 14.4% pro-forma sales growth, and “significant year-on-year profit improvement”.

Despite the positive numbers, DFS boss Tim Stacey cautioned that “recent trading conditions have reflected the increasingly uncertain political and economic backdrop and we have seen reduced levels of footfall across our brands”, which he put down to lower levels of consumer confidence and housing transactions.

Stacey continued: “Our financial performance in the year ahead will inevitably be dependent on broader political and economic developments, and at this stage it is difficult to predict what will happen specifically within the upholstery market.

“However, we remain focused on those variables that we can control and on executing our strategy, which we believe puts us in a strong position in the market over the long term.”