Fantastic Furniture buoys Steinhoff amidst negative press

Scandal-ridden furniture group Steinhoff International has lifted total group revenue by 2 per cent over the nine months to June 30, reaching €12.9 billion ($20.8 billion).

Steinhoff’s Australasian businesses including Freedom, Snooze, Fantastic Furniture, Best & Less and Harris Scarfe contributed €963 million ($1.55 billion) to the total, up 1 per cent  from €949 million ($1.53 billion) in the prior corresponding period.

Like-for-like sales fell 5 per cent in the Australasian household goods division, while like-for-like sales fell 3 per cent in the general merchandise division.

The company’s mid-market household goods brands suffered from a challenging trading environment, which was offset by the resilient performance of Fantastic Furniture, which contributed €265 million ($427.7 million) in the nine-month period.

The group said the alignment of its Australiasian operations under a single CEO in October 2017, as well as a management restructuring, led to a “single group approach”, however, the “Steinhoff events” severely impacted operational results.

“The negative press surrounding the Group influenced customer behaviour in many of the operations, and during this period enhanced communication was required,” the quarterly report stated.

“This was specifically relevant in product categories that provide multi-year customer guarantees… as these products have a long lead time and require customers to pay a deposit upon ordering.

“These transactions were under pressure as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the stability of the Steinhoff Group.”

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