DFS marks 25th successive year of growing comfort

DFS, the furniture business whose flotation last year made its founder, Graham Kirkham, one of Britain's 50 wealthiest men, announced record profits in the year to July, its 25th successive year of growth.

Mr Kirkham raised pounds 129m last November by selling just under half of his family's 100 per cent holding in the company.

Underlying profits grew 20 per cent to pounds 21.9m at an operating margin of 16.2 per cent from sales 18 per cent higher at pounds 134.9m. After an 11 per cent increase in earnings per share to 14.4p, a final dividend of 4.9p made a full-year payout of 7.2p.

Mr Kirkham said DFS was benefiting from the heightened profile the company had gained since flotation. At the year-end there were 29 stores in the group following three openings during the period. Six more site openings are planned.

DFS has a 7 per cent share of the UK furniture market, which Mr Kirkham said provided a platform for further growth. The shares, originally priced at 260p on a historic price/earnings ratio of 21, closed 3p higher at 259p.

(Photograph omitted)

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