Doncaster based sofa chain reaches milestone

Ian Filby of DFS
Ian Filby of DFS
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Doncaster-based DFS furniture giant reached a major milestone at the weekend when it opened its 100th store.

The new store in Torquay, Devon, adds to other recent openings in Liverpool and Ipswich to bring the chain to a century of shops in the UK and Ireland.

Although the summer heatwave hit sales of sofas, suite and dining furniture, DFS say their factory in Doncaster is running at record levels of production after switching to a full double shift.

Following the change in working practices the number of jobs at the Carcroft factory has risen from the original 170 to just under 300.

DFS, started in an old billiard hall in Carcroft High Street the late 1960s by Graham Kirkham, who later became Lord Kirkham, now employs just over 700 people in Yorkshire.

Although the hottest July since 1976 caused a sharp sales dip in the summer, with people sunbathing rather than shopping, DFS chief executive Ian Filby says the group is confident it can make up lost sales and outperform the market.

DFS earnings fell 29 per cent to £7.2 million in the quarter from July to October, with sales down from £144 million to £142.5 million.

Trading has since picked up and Mr Filby says: “We’re much more encouraged by the last few weeks’ footfall. We have entered our major trading period, the winter sales, which started two weeks ago, and it’s going really well.

“We should experience a really strong trading period.

“ If you go back to 2011-12 we had a very similar first half performance, it’s something we’re used to.”

Mr Filby said reaching the 100 stores milestone was ‘very exciting’.

DFS have recently launched a new website for customers wanting to browse on their tablets and mobile phones.

They are also promoting their exclusive ranges which are tied in with glossy magazines Country Living and House Beautiful.

The groups has also signed a long-term contract with a second major financial institution to continue their famous interest-free credit.