Covid-19: DFS online surge continues beyond lockdown

DFS has reported online orders grew 77% year-on-year for the period 23 March to 12 July, with the shift to eCommerce during the Covid-19 lockdown continuing even though the majority of the retailer’s showrooms reopened in England at the end of May.

The furniture brand stated it will be focusing on developing its digital capabilities further in light of changing consumer behaviour.

The figures were published in a trading update for the year ending 28 June 2020. Revenue for the 52 weeks was £725 million, a fall of £271 million compared to 2019, with all DFS trading operations other than its website suspended for much of the final quarter.

The retailer added that order in-take at its showrooms grew 69% year-on-year between 1 June and 12 July, “reflecting latent demand”.

DFS also confirmed it is in a strong financial position, with over £160 million available in cash as of 28 June.

Tim Stacey, group chief executive at DFS, commented: "Our strong online platforms have served customers well throughout the lockdown and we have seen consistently high order intake, which I'm pleased to see has continued as our showrooms reopened. There is no doubt that consumer behaviours are changing fast and as such we are accelerating our omnichannel strategy through increased investment in technology right across the customer experience.”

In the update, the group said it plans to continue growing its Sofology brand to 70 showrooms, expressing the potential to “take immediate advantage of attractive units that may be vacated by distressed retailers on otherwise fully-occupied retail parks”.

DFS quickly turned to its eCommerce channel to help the business navigate the Covid-19 lockdown, revealing in April it had seen 20.2% growth in online sales during the period from 25 March to 17 April.