DFS Group sets sights on Europe as its top team prepare for record year

Edith Hancock
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DFS boss Ian Filby has set sights on Europe after a positive start
Upholstered furniture giants DFS Group said it is looking to expand to Europe and beyond after a strong year of sales puts the group on target for a record-breaking year.

DFS Group, the sofa sellers that bought rival Dwell in 2013, said it expects this year to be record-breaking for the company, but bosses added that this was to be expected.

DFS financial director Ian Filby said: “Obviously we’re very pleased. We’ve still got a bit of work to do, but the business appears to be on plan.”

DFS chiefs said that profits are now back to pre-credit crunch levels, and the firm is looking to expand further in European markets.

The company opened its first store outside of the UK and Ireland in Holland last year. With the latest trading update in, the group is ready to start building the business internationally after a good start in Europe.

The expansion will be slow and steady. “It’s very much a case of learning to walk before you can run. We’re pleased with the first nine months of our Netherlands store and we can see, in the future, upwards of 20 stores in the country,” said Filby.

DFS Group saw strong performance in the second half of its financial year, with gross sales up seven per cent on last year.

Doncaster-based DFS, which is majority-owned by private equity firm Advent International, is the current market leader with a 25 per cent share of the UK’s £3bn furniture market.

DFS Group also announced yesterday that chief operating officer John Massey will be stepping down, taking up an advisory role in the autumn after serving in the business for more than 20 years.

Filby said: “He’s certainly not getting away that easily. We’re delighted to say he’s going to stay on as an adviser with the company.” T

The DFS boss said that they were looking at senior figures in the company “both young and old” to find the right candidate.

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