MFI plans to double marketshare

MFI, the UK's biggest furniture retailer, aims to double its share of an£11 billion market.

Chief executive John Hancock said: 'MFI as a retailer is only taking 8 per cent. It's our contention there's a lot to play for, and a five-year view would be 15 per cent.'

Speaking at his prelims, Hancock described MFI as a 'brand in transition', citing furniture and DIY as the place to be at present.

MFI's sectors are benefiting from the growth of the leisure pound, and geopolitical uncertainties might register this year, with homeowners opting for improvement projects rather than foreign trips.

The store group's link-up with US furniture giant Ethan Allen continues.

Two stores are now open. Hancock said the 'low-risk venture' represented a new business model, and a third store is likely to follow this year.

Seymour Pierce analyst Richard Ratner said: 'They've expanded their product range and reshaped their ranges and stores, so there's enough to keep things going.'

MFI reported preliminary results last week. Sales at the main UK chain rose 12.5 per cent to£861 million, and were up 6.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis. Pre-tax profit rose from£58.8 million to£80.8 million over the same period.

Trade arm Howden Joinery almost doubled its profits, with sales up 45.6 per cent.