DFS eyes a return to the stock market

The high profile, advertising led business has a quarter of the UK market
The high profile, advertising led business has a quarter of the UK market

Sofa chain DFS Furniture is planning a return to the London Stock Exchange more than a decade after it was taken into private hands.

The Doncaster-based business, which was founded in 1969 and now has 105 stores in the UK, the Irish Republic and the Netherlands, said it plans to raise £105m to pay off debts. It is expected to have a valuation near £1bn.

DFS’s private equity owner Advent International, which has been involved in the business since 2010, intends to sell down some of its stake.

The move comes after smaller rival ScS floated on the London market last month valuing it at £70m. DFS plans to complete its float next month.

DFS competes against rivals such as Furniture Village and Sofaworks and commanded just over a quarter of the £3bn UK upholstered furniture market last year.

It posted annual gross sales of £874.8m in 2014, turning in a pre-tax profit of £85.2m.

The chain has opened 27 UK stores over the past four years and plans to roll out three to five new UK shops a year. It opened it first Dutch store last November.

DFS CEO Ian Filby said: “Our vision is to take DFS from being a great British business to a world class business.

“This is an exciting time for us as we continue to drive growth initiatives that are already underway against a backdrop of an improving macroeconomic environment.”