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DFS 'well positioned to face economic headwinds' as sales rise 7%

Sofa chain DFS has said sales continued to rise in the first half of the year and it is well positioned to weather any potential dip in consumer confidence.

DFS said gross sales in the 26 weeks to January 28 rose by 7%, with an encouraging contribution from its Dwell and Sofa Workshop brands.

But in a first-half trading update, it also warned of an "increased risk" of a market slowdown.

"We recognise that in 2017 the retailing of furniture in the UK faces an increased risk of a market slowdown given the uncertain outlook for consumer confidence.

"However, with its resilient operating model we believe the group remains very well positioned to respond to economic headwinds and cost pressures whilst achieving continued growth in its share of the UK retail furniture market."

The Doncaster-based group said it is working to mitigate the impact of the weak pound by negotiating better deals with suppliers.

DFS said: "As we anticipated at the time of our preliminary results announcement in October, we saw some impact on product margins in the first half from the impact of adverse foreign exchange movements.

"We continue our work to actively offset this impact through range management and supplier negotiations, while the differentiated DFS sourcing model of vertical integration, UK manufacturing capability and superior scale remains an important competitive advantage."

The collapse in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote has ramped up costs for British businesses and started to impact profit margins.

The retailer said its expectations for full-year pre-tax profit remain unchanged.

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