Orders up by 12 per cent
Troubled furniture group Homestyle, owner of Harveys, today disclosed that trading has improved and it has signed former Buoyant Upholstery managing director Bill Carrahar to head its beds division.

In the 12 weeks to October 15, Homestyle's orders increased by 12 per cent compared with the same period last year. The figures represent a significant improvement on preliminary results published on July 28, which showed orders were down by 13 per cent.

The change in fortunes suggests renewed consumer confidence in the retailer, following its refinancing and return to actively promoting customer offers.

It follows the group's partnership with Steinhoff International Holdings and the appointment of Ian Topping as chief executive in July. Topping is leading the long-term recovery strategy of the group's furniture division.

Homestyle admited that trading conditions in the UK furniture sector are challenging, but said it plans to capitalise on the opportunities for growth. Chairman Donald Macpherson said: 'We have the resources and strategic partnership in place to support our management teams in returning the company to acceptable levels of profitability.'

Broker Investec commented: 'These order book increases are substantially better than expected, which bodes well for future profitability.'