THE COMPLETE HOME FURNISHER

Furniture business to apply price increases as HY sales slip

John Lewis of Hungerford, the manufacturer and retailer of kitchens and bedroom furniture, has reported a decline in sales.

According to its latest trading update for the six months ended 31 December 2018, total sales fell 21% to £3.7m from £4.7m against the same period last year.

The company said that the first quarter of FY2019 showed an adverse comparison, followed by a 3% (on a like-for-like basis) improvement in the second quarter.

This improvement has continued into the third quarter showing strong LFL performance and a broadly comparable forward order book, with future orders ahead of the prior year at £1.8m compared to £1m.

John Lewis of Hungerford also reported a pre-tax loss of £335,000 compared to a profit of £238,000 in the first half of its previous financial year.

The company added that from 1 July 2019, it will apply price increases to new business across its kitchens and bedrooms range due to ‘inflationary pressures’ reported in results for the 10 months to 30 June 2018.

A statement within the report said: “We are pleased to report that trading and sales for the half year period was in line with management expectations. This is due to the continued improvement in both the levels of customer enquiries and the conversion improvements following the investment in our sales training, marketing literature and showroom estate.

This improvement has continued over the last 3 months with the launch of our new website in December 2018. We are now seen as a Destination Brand once again by our customer audience.

“Against a continued weak retail environment, it is pleasing to see that the combination of our dispatched orders, forward order book against which a full deposit has been taken, together with our future orders against which a first stage deposit has been taken, are broadly in line with the previous year.

“We believe this is due primarily to the strength of our focused marketing activities and the ability of our team to deliver exceptionally high standards of service throughout the customer journey.”

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