Furniture retailer MFI saw its shares pick up yesterday as investors expressed relief that a slowdown in sales was not as bad as they had feared.
Same-store sales across the group were two per cent higher in the 20 weeks to May 14 compared with the same period last year, with total sales ahead by four per cent. Analysts said the market had been braced for slower sales, given the tough retail environment.
MFI is one of a string of UK retailers to have suffered from the impact of slower consumer spending recently, as the effect of a series of interest rate rises takes its toll.
It told its annual meeting that same- store orders at its core UK retail arm were four per cent lower during the period. However, this translated into a one per cent fall in like-for-like sales, suggesting improvements to its supply chain were coming through.
The company blamed teething problems with its new supply system for a sharp drop in profits last year, but said that this was now "stable".
There had been some improvement to profit margins at the UK arm since an update in March, it added.
MFI's Howden Joinery business saw like-for-like sales increase by four per cent - down from a six per cent jump reported in early March.
Meanwhile, its French Hygena Cuisines business continued to show a strong performance with same-store orders seven per cent higher than last year.