UK sales decline but remain ‘solid’ at French furniture firm

French furniture business Roche Bobois reported a decline in UK sales while overall third quarter revenues rose.

According to its latest trading update for the nine months ended September 2023, total group sales increased 4.5% to €320.1m from €306.2m in 2022.

Revenue in the UK was ‘solid’ and ‘equivalent to last year’s high level’, but registered a decline of 3% to €17m from €17.6m. For the quarter itself, sales were down 11.5% to €5.3m from €6m against Q3 the previous year.

Roche Bobois generated revenue of €90.6m in France, up 5.1% from €86m, and also benefited from the positive effects of the integration of the six franchised stores in Northern France and Brittany.

The United States/Canada region posted revenue of €110.6m, compared with €108.0m, up 2.4%, while the Other Europe region generated revenue of €60.5m, compared with €54.5m, representing double-digit growth of 11.1%, with business remaining buoyant in Spain and Italy throughout the nine-month period.

Commenting on the trading update, the company said: “This included a slight decline in the third quarter of 2023, given demanding comparison with the year-earlier period and a less favourable exchange rate effect, but was in line with the Group’s revenue targets for 2023.

“With deliveries over coming months set to be driven by the order backlog of €143m at 30 September 2023, Roche Bobois confirms its full-year guidance for revenue of at least €425m (growth of around 5%) and a further increase in EBITDA compared with the record figure seen in 2022. The Group also confirms its dividend payment policy, with an interim dividend of €1 per share for the current financial year, as in 2022.

“Roche Bobois continues to actively pursue its ambitious international expansion plan. After opening a directly-operated store in Denver in August 2023, Roche Bobois has just opened in Naples, Florida. Last June, the Group also opened directly-operated Roche Bobois stores in Palm Desert (California) and Short Hills (New Jersey). The brand is therefore substantially boosting its presence in the strategic United States/Canada region, where it now has 42 stores (37 of which are operated directly).

“At the same time, Roche Bobois has just opened a directly-operated store in Basel (Switzerland) and transferred a directly-operated store in Hamburg to a more premium location. In all, out of its global target to open 21 directly-operated stores in 2023 (including the 13 franchisee takeovers), three directly-operated stores remain to be opened by the end of the year (Roche Bobois Westlake-Thousand Oaks (California), Roche Bobois Nice Massena (France) and Cuir Center Nice Cap 3000 (France)).

“Franchise activity also remains buoyant, with six new stores planned for the year, four of which have already opened (Sydney (Australia), Changzhou (China), Jinan (China) and Istanbul (Turkey)).”

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