Masters of the never-ending sofa sale, DFS, posted half year results this morning. With consumer confidence fragile, the company is facing a challenging market but if you take into account the acquisition of Sofology, sales for the period were up 4% on the previous year. The company is expanding both by buying competitors and also opening a modest number of new stores with the aim of finding further cost savings from scaling up, which is arguably good as there’s little to suggest we’ll see a rush of consumers suddenly piling back in looking for a new sofa.

Sugar giants Tate & Lyle updated the market with third quarter numbers this morning, assuring investors that the numbers are in line with guidance. Long term investment plans are taking a toll on profitability, but this should yield results in the longer term. North America appears to be where the best growth is being seen by the business in both its core divisions – Bulk Ingredients and Speciality Food Ingredients.

More good news from a housebuilder – at least assuming you’re a shareholder and not someone trying to get onto the property ladder. Bellway’s half year update shows rising prices, rising volumes and word that the market conditions remain ‘favourable’. Perhaps worthy of note however is that Bellway’s disclosed landbank – something which is the subject of political scrutiny right now – covers less than 18 months’ worth of development. However unlike peers, Bellway doesn’t include land without planning permission in its calculations – the outcome of the government review which is due in the Spring should be of interest to all involved in the sector.

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Market Analyst, Monk Communications
8th February 2018
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