• DFS half-year sales rise 7%
  • Sofa Workshop, Dwell and Netherlands arm “contribute encouragingly”
  • Finance boss Bill Barnes set to retire in the summer after 13 years

DFS has reported a jump in half-year sales as its expansion strategy bore fruit amid a “healthy furniture market”.

The retailer said gross sales during the 26 weeks to January 30 advanced 7% as the Sofa Workshop, Dwell and DFS Netherlands businesses “contributed encouragingly” to growth.

DFS has been investing in a series of growth initiatives, including a “measured programme” of store expansion both in the UK and overseas. In October it revealed it had acquired a Spanish business to target expats, while boss Ian Filby said it was mulling expansion into Germany and Belgium following an “encouraging” trial in the Netherlands.

The furniture specialist is also developing its multichannel proposition, enhancing its range and working to broaden the brand appeal to more customers.

DFS said the “success” of its strategy, coupled with the “healthy furniture market environment”, left the retailer “in a strong position to sustain its record of sales growth, market share capture and cash generation”.

It said its full-year profit expectations remain unchanged.

DFS boss Ian Filby said: “Since our IPO this is the third set of numbers we’re reported and we continue to demonstrate strong growth, which is a combination of underlying market growth of around 3%, with the rest of the growth coming from the strength of our strategic initiatives.”

Filby added that DFS has stuck to its “heartland” of young couples and young families, but is beginning to win a bigger share of aspirational customers. The trend has been driven by partnerships with Country Living, House Beautiful and French Connection and the acquisitions of Sofa Workshop and Dwell, which have both delivered “double digit” growth.

The update came as DFS revealed its finance director, Bill Barnes, is to retire after almost 13 years with the business.

Barnes will step down from the retailer at the end of July and will be replaced by commercial finance director Nicola Bancroft. She will take up the role of chief financial officer and executive director on August 1.

DFS will unveil its full half-year results on March 23.