Covid-19: DFS reports 20% growth in online sales during lockdown

DFS has reported a 20.2% growth in eCommerce sales during the period from 25 March to 17 April. As a result, the retailer’s order banks have increased to a total of around £192 million from approximately £185 million. The business expects this revenue boost will help it navigate the Covid-19 crisis.

DFS is one of a number of non-essential retailers forced to close its physical stores in the wake of the UK government’s lockdown measures, which were extended by a further three weeks last Thursday. However, online trading and deliveries are still being encouraged.

In a statement, the furniture store confirmed it has put in place the necessary measures to be able to deliver products to customers at this time, including ensuring warehouse staff can work safely. It is also continuing to receive inbound deliveries of customer orders from Far East manufacturers. Sofa deliveries will resume once a safe and workable approach for two-person installations into customer homes is found.

Additionally, DFS is taking steps to ensure it has sufficient liquidity to continue operations during the crisis, covering short-term working capital unwind until the resumption of sofa deliveries. This includes negotiating an additional debt facility of £60-70 million on top of its existing bank facility of £250 million as well as preparing for a possible non pre-emptive equity issue of up to 19.9% of its existing ordinary share capital.

The retailer is also confident of reducing monthly costs to under £14 million per month following positive discussions with suppliers and landlords.

The group said: “The combination of the proposed additional financing together with the operating cost mitigation measures is expected to, when agreed, give the Group significant liquidity to see through an extended lock-down. The Board is confident that the Group can navigate the Covid-19 crisis and deliver its strategy over the longer term when the trading environment normalises.”