BNC Text J9N

MFI interim figures presentation: press announcement. Sample containing about 4962 words speech recorded in business context

10 speakers recorded by respondent number C500

PS3XC Ag4 m (Derek, age 55+, chairman of the board) unspecified
PS3XD Ag3 m (John, age 40+, financial director) unspecified
J9NPS000 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
J9NPS001 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
J9NPS002 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
J9NPS003 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
J9NPS004 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
J9NPS005 X u (No name, age unknown) unspecified
J9NPSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
J9NPSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 112901 recorded on 1994-01-27. LocationGreater London: London ( conference hall ) Activity: press announcement meeting

Undivided text

Derek (PS3XC) [1] all Executive Directors of the Company together we'll answer any questions [...] at the end of this short presentation.
[2] First the figures, furniture retailing continues to be highly competitive so I am pleased to report that turnover for the twenty eight weeks was through to the twenty million five point five percent better than the same period in the previous year.
[3] Operating profit for the period was twenty seven point four million compared with a pro-forma level of nineteen point four million last year an increase of forty one per cent.
[4] Profit before tax which includes nineteen point six million pounds worth of profit from the sale of the Group's investment in Carpet Right was forty four point one compared to a loss of twelve million for the same period last year.
[5] An extra share of five P of which two point two P relates to the exceptional period on the sale of Carpet Right shares giving interest net earnings per share of two point eight P.
[6] In a few moments I'd like to tell you briefly about the trading background to the figures and to give you an indication of how business has been since the period ended and particularly since our important sale started on Boxing Day.
[7] But first I'll ask our Finance Director to go into the figures in a little bit more detail. ...
John (PS3XD) [8] Thank you good morning ladies and gentlemen, ... turnover grew by five point five per cent during the twenty eight weeks the sixth of November to three hundred and twenty million there's been no inflation in our selling prices so all of this growth is from increased volumes particularly in upholstery, beds, appliances and Pronto.
[9] Although the total retail trading area is unchanged at the period end there are in fact two different underlying elements new footage has been laid down in France but this has been off set by a net reduction in the retail trading area in the U K. ... The sales per square foot which excludes [...] retail sales and is based on the waiting average trading area shows an increase of seven point two percent ... A low [...] margin of fifty five point six per cent was down from fifty eight point five per cent in the same period last this, this was mainly due to a drop in in-house manufacturing participation and adverse exchange rates.
[10] Gross margin was as we expected broadly level with the second half of last year.
[11] ... The reduction and payroll costs of five million or six point eight per cent reflects the staff reductions which took place last year ... These are efficiency gains primarily in areas of management and distribution.
[12] As a result of tight every-day control costs other operating charges at seventy eight point seven million have fallen as the percentage of sales by point nine per cent to twenty four point six per cent and depreciation in the period has fallen by two point three million to eight point four million.
[13] ... Our sub-leasing of of surplus retail area has continued in the period and combined with a small programme of retail park developments will enable our retail area grow, sorry will enable our rental income to grow.
[14] Indeed rental income will be in excess of nine million pounds for the full year compared to seven million pounds for last year.
[15] Combined effects of these initiatives has resulted in operating profits rising to twenty seven point four million compared with the pro forma level of nineteen point four million last year, which is an increase of forty one per cent.
[16] Our net operating margins have risen from six point four per cent to eight point six per cent.
[17] There is a net interest charge in the period of three million which is a decrease of two point four million on the same period last year.
[18] This reflect the cash from the sale of the Group's investment in Carpet Right together with low interest rates.
[19] The profit on ordinary activities with more taxation was forty four point one million compared to a loss last year of twelve million but of course these two figures are not comparable.
[20] This year's number includes nineteen point six million profit on the sale of Carpet Right and last year's number includes twenty four point seven million flotation and buy-out costs.
[21] A more appropriate comparison is the profit before tax this year of twenty four point five million compared to a profit before tax last year of twelve point seven million an increase of ninety three per cent.
[22] The forecast tax charge for the year is thirty four per cent which is below last year's rate of thirty five and we expect this low rate to continue in the future.
[23] Earnings per share in the period were five p but after taking into account exceptional Carpet Right gain this is reduced to two point eight p and compares to last year's pro forma earnings per share of one point four million which included losses on the closing down of our operations.
[24] The cash position at the period end showed net borrowings of thirty nine point seven million which compares to eight two point seven million at the same time twelve months ago.
[25] [...] has fallen over this period from seventy eight per cent to twenty eight per cent.
[26] ... During the period net borrowings have fallen by twenty one point eight million principally due to the twenty one point four million proceeds from Carpet Right.
[27] M F I traditionally has a stronger second half cash flow and net borrowings are expected to fall further in the second half of the year.
[28] Two other key elements were within our cash flow.
[29] First, stock levels were increased by nine point three million in preparation for our important winter sale.
[30] Secondly we utilised available A C T capacity in the group to obtain an early recovery of eleven and a half million of A C T and this would not normally have been recovered until January nineteen ninety five.
[31] ... Capital expenditure for the period was fourteen point six million and is likely to be twenty five million for the year.
[32] Although similar to last year's level of twenty three million you remember that last year's number included the purchase of four freehold properties for nine million pounds.
[33] You also know that on page nine of our interest statement we have created a non-distributable special reserve against which we are writing off our good-will reserve.
[34] This has created a capital structure more suitable for a listed company.
[35] Thank you for your attention I would now like to hand you back to
Derek (PS3XC) [36] ... Thanks and I'll just outline the background to the figures that has just presented to you.
[37] During the period new kitchen carcasses, stores worktops and the sinks all manufactured by Hygena were introduced into all out stores along with a number of improvements to our bedroom ranges.
[38] This will was completed in time for the sale period which began on Boxing Day.
[39] We opened a new store in Christ Christchurch and rebuilt our North Shields site replacing the M F I store with a completely new one.
[40] Two more stores will open in Cardiff and Yeovil at the end of next month bringing the total number of U K stores to one hundred and seventy eight.
[41] These two stores will trade under the name of Homeworks and will operate as a testing ground for M F I's mainstream business.
[42] They've been developed after considerable consumer research and will evaluate new products and new service ideas which if found acceptable will be taken up by the M F I chain.
[43] We've continued our programme of improvements to the M F I store design layout and presentation.
[44] Seven more stores have been completely refitted and a further eighty four thousand square feet of surplus space has been sub-leased to other retailers increasing our rental income by another half a million pounds.
[45] A new generation of [...] a sell system has been successfully introduced into all our stores which integrates which integrates more closely the retailing distribution and manufacturing systems and raises the level of management information and control.
[46] Our new customer tracking system is giving us detailed information on customer tracking flows and purchasing bands and as a result we're refining staff working arrangements in all stores with a clear objective of increasing sales and improving customer service.
[47] These two important operational developments are now allowing our staff to make more productive use of their time enabling them to concentrate more effectively on serving customers and selling products.
[48] I am delighted to announce that we will soon manufacturing ovens at our Hygena factory in Stockton extending the range of products manufactured in-house follows on naturally as M F I's position as the leading ah retailer of built-in kitchen appliances.
[49] These new appliances will replace products imported from Europe and will retailed in our stores from Spring nineteen ninety five.
[50] Finally, I have to report that sales in France have increased by thirty per cent with like for like performance of six per cent on the same period last year.
[51] We now trade from forty eight locations in France with three more stores due to open in the second half of the financial year.
[52] To ensure that everybody's kept informed of our performance at regular intervals throughout the year we will in future announce our interim results in December, make a statement in February on the Winter sale performance announce final results in early July and give another trading statement at our A G M in September.
[53] Today today we're declaring an interim dividend of one point three three per share ... er compared with the same period this year er sorry let me start that again.
[54] Today we're declaring an interim dividend of one point three three per share compared with one point two five for the same period last year.
[55] This decision takes into account the need to rebuild dividend cover whilst ensuring that higher earnings are reflected in increased income to share holders, just excuse me one minute ... [laugh] Current trading.
[56] Trading in the second has shown a clear improvement and since Boxing Day sales of fourteen per cent ahead of the previous year.
[57] In particular sales of kitchens and bedrooms have shown considerable increases and whilst we're pleased with the response to our new products we remain cautious on the outlook for consumer expenditure.
[58] Now ladies and gentlemen if you have any questions we'll be happy to answer them for you ... Can you just wait for the microphone because the guys at the back can't hear the question
(J9NPS000) [59] right, erm Could you, you said that your payroll costs had come down by five million that's [...] figure is it?
Derek (PS3XC) [60] yeah erm
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [61] sorry [...]
Derek (PS3XC) [62] Have you got the figures there ?
John (PS3XD) [63] Yeah, the payroll costs for the first half of last year were seventy three point eight million the payroll costs for the first half of the review were sixty eight point eight
(J9NPS000) [64] right so it's [...] for the half year sorry, beg your pardon five million [...] half year
Derek (PS3XC) [65] that's correct yes
(J9NPS000) [66] Fine okay and how many employees do you now have
John (PS3XD) [67] six thousand
Derek (PS3XC) [68] six thousand seven the average number is a six thousand seven hundred and seventy four it's actually erm financial highlights and I'll just check give you the exact figure six seven seven four
(J9NPS000) [69] right that's a headcount that's not [...]
Derek (PS3XC) [70] it is for [...] equipment
(J9NPS000) [71] that's [...] equipment right, and how's that compared with the previous period last year
Derek (PS3XC) [72] well the year we had seven thousand five hundred and seventy nine
(J9NPS000) [73] sorry could you repeat that again please
Derek (PS3XC) [74] seven thousand five hundred and seventy nine and at the same period last year which is November nineteen ninety two we have seven thousand eight hundred and forty three
(J9NPS000) [75] right erm could I just check something else which was not mentioned er is that is it when you have opened these two Homeworks shops that you'll be up to a hundred and seventy eight
Derek (PS3XC) [76] yes that's [...]
(J9NPS000) [77] and I was wondering if you could tell us a bit more about these Homework how they fit [...] the M F I [...] the plan of shopping
Derek (PS3XC) [78] well the reason that we've changed the name on those two stores is that any experiments we want to conduct have got to be conducted outside the normal M F I promotional platform and as we use the national press extensively the only way to do that is to change the name.
[79] We had a long series of various pieces of research, one of which was actually talk to enormous amount of customers through customer [...] and as a consequence of that we've we decided to form a fairly [...] business to produce a very different pair of stores, different in that they won't trade in the traditional way that M F Is gone ah they'll carry different merchandise, different price lines.
[80] Now what it is actually is a [...] idea that part of our research and development actually engages the customer so that in the [...] stores it's very difficult to experiment in say half a dozen when the national press is out there every week making an offer that you don't carry [...] by definition [...] like that [...]
(J9NPS000) [81] So what bits are more up market more down market
Derek (PS3XC) [82] what would you say about that
(J9NPS001) [83] What we're actually doing in terms of the product is we're actually widening the franchise erm I don't like to use words going up market that suggests that we're leaving our core customers behind, we will we will add any product that is complimentary to our core kitchens but er we'll still be the main stance of the product in these two stores for instance, we're going to introduce a house wear department it is something that we've been experimenting with before we're going to erm use the opportunity to widen the franchise on appliances we're going to erm use the an experiment on erm floorings to match work tops, those kind of developments just to test to see whether the customer reaction is as good as we hoped it would be so that we can then introduce it in the main chain
(J9NPS000) [84] Do they have to be a lot bigger these stores
Derek (PS3XC) [85] No they're just two standard stores, one's twenty five thousand square feet in Yeovil which as you will be aware is a market town with a fairly wide catchment area and in Cardiff which where we're opposite Marks and Spencers on an out-of-town development so they're just two stores virtually picked because they were ready to open
(J9NPS000) [86] right, my final question have you talked to erm Do It All about buying in in their outfit?
Derek (PS3XC) [87] We've certainly talked to Do It All [...] ha ha erm yes that's definite yes
(J9NPS000) [88] thank you ...
(J9NPS002) [89] Can you tell us a bit more about this [...]
(J9NPS003) [90] Well it's a both a fortunate and unfortunate circumstance as a result of the by-out a sorry [cough] as a result of the floatation we cut a great many costs which reduced our taxable profits but at the same time we did actually pay some divides and we've also pay some dividends here in last year anyway.
[91] The complication has been that because last year's trading profits were lower than expected we didn't have any taxable profits against which to claim back this A C T so as this would be the first year in which taxable profits would arise unless we'd not been unless we'd been able to find some other way of dealing with it the A C T which we pay would not have been recoverable till January ninety five.
[92] What we have done is we have erm been able to utilise some A C T capacity or generate some A C T capacity within one of the subsidiaries within the group um the reason for highlighting it highlighting it is not particularly to make a song and dance about it but is particularly to say that on the cash flow statement there is this in-flood and it is a one off in-flood we're not going to be seeing that being brought forward every year, but basically what it is is we have profits in previous elements of the group which enabled us to generate A C T capacity enabled us to off set this A C T which we paid on dividends and bringing forward earlier than we would otherwise have done.
(J9NPS002) [93] oh right
(J9NPS003) [94] Conversely had we had the profits last year which would have generated taxable profits then we wouldn't have needed to have done that, so that's one reason why it was not disclosed on floatations at the time and floatation was not regarded as an asset.
[95] It's not an asset unless you can use it.
(J9NPS002) [96] Right if you can show us erm a main stream corporation [...] last year [...]
(J9NPS003) [97] yes, but not again not one which we're not able to off set this particular payment ...
(J9NPS002) [98] I'm not sure you've made it any clearer than it was before but erm
Derek (PS3XC) [99] well don't look at me I can't help ya
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [laugh]
(J9NPS002) [100] how do you feel about the erm [...] deal and a [...]
Derek (PS3XC) [101] I think a I think that a regional high street outlet will provide a threat to us certainly and it's not clear yet which way they're gonna try that business, but yes we are working at it very hard ...
(J9NPS004) [102] If the erm Homeworks experiment is successful could we see many more stores turning over to that that format and that that [...] or will you consider converting the whole chain or might you just have a separate chain called Homesworks?
Derek (PS3XC) [103] No I don't think either erm ... The whole emphasis of Homeworks is to learn things there which we can then bolt on to the main chain, I'll be absolutely amazed if in fact Homeworks manages to drive anywhere near the amount of customers through it that M F I does or the problem we had in Yeovil is because it is a very rural area a is not having the M F I name above the door so no that is not the intention.
[104] I do believe, however, we'll learn things from it that we can quickly adapt and put into the hundred and seventy six M F I stores. ...
(J9NPS005) [105] How big [...] sales in France and [...] how big are the sales in France and how do margins compare with the U K
Derek (PS3XC) [106] Well the total sales in France for this year will be around twenty five million pounds
(J9NPS005) [107] for the whole year?
Derek (PS3XC) [108] for the whole year so it's a very small business the stores [cough] are much smaller than they are in the U K erm as regards your last point about margins the margins are erm at least equal to the margins that we achieve in the U K
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [109] Is that [...] ?
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [110] Oh sorry erm we are expect the business this year to break even it broke even last year, erm and the reason for that is that we have expanded business very rapidly, last year we had only thirty five stores this year we'll have fifty and we will probably have a similar sort of expansion programme for next year.
[111] The cost of that level of expansion ah were largely written off against revenue or a large part of [...] against revenue with the effect that reduces the business to break even. ...
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [112] What what proportion of the fourteen per cent sales rise since ah Christmas relates directly to to mark downs in that period after Boxing Day when you re- opened?
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [113] None in the conventional sense that I take it that you mean mark down you mean clearing merchandise
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [114] yeah
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [115] yes, discounting merchandise is something we do all the time it's just that the discounts are different in January and the merchandise to which they're applied may be different.
[116] We don't have a [...] in our business as many other retailers do where for instance after Christmas [...] may be [...] and other such things to clear we don't have that, so there isn't any merchandise that's been sold since Christmas that has been sold because we don't want it to be in the inventory post year end it's it's just generating trade by being discount price left [...] so therefore to a certain amount your question would be has the [...] post Christmas and it was pre Christmas no material difference we're very satisfied with the gross margins since Christmas we haven't had to take any extraordinary measures to generate this erm this level of sales increase that's being achieved at constant margin [...] a flat margin
Derek (PS3XC) [117] I think the ah just to remind you what we have always said is that [...] that would improve our gross margin situation would be a change in [...] in house manufacturing goods and whilst it's a bit early to tell we are actually saying to you that the sales post Boxing Day have been in addition
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [118] What proportion of [...] is now made in house?
Derek (PS3XC) [119] It's more than sixty per cent and eight five per cent is made in the U K just about almost ...
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [120] [...] as a matter of interest that's actually would be higher than any other retailer in Britain actually [...] that's not commonly known [...] no other retailer [...] who has a penetration of whatever he sells as high as M F I does [...] ...
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [121] Could you just repeat the figures for capital expenditure I think you said that this year was going to be higher than last year and explain explain where the [...] money gonna be invested
John (PS3XD) [122] Well this year's capital expenditure will be around twenty five million and last year's figure was twenty three million the point I was making in the speech was that twenty three million included nine million pounds for the, we must have some static in our [...] nine million pounds for the purchase of freeholds, erm but the capital expenditure this year is spread right across the operation [...] includes introduction of erm re-fits in a number of stores includes expansion in France, investment in systems and hardware and indeed also includes ah about five million pounds for a retail park development which I also referred to ... the park development on which we have an interest in the sense that we are developing an M F I store.
[123] ... and of course if you want to include a small element this year a greater element would be [...] for the new open plan. ...
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [124] Just a couple of detail points erm why have you seen a fall in your depreciation charge and an increase in [...] ?
John (PS3XD) [125] Right I'll deal with with depreciation.
[126] Depreciation's been falling now for two or three years as our capital expenditure of depreciable assets has been falling indeed if you look at last year's net of the nine million pounds purchase of the freehold to [...] fourteen million the year before was only sixteen million erm so as the as the depreciation as the capital expenditure falls the depreciation will also fall that's one reason.
[127] The other reason was in the late eighties and early nineties we had a very large expenditure programme indeed in one year amounting to one hundred million pounds now [...] of that are now becoming fully depreciated and falling out of the charge
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [128] what ah capital expenditure on non depreciable assets [...]
John (PS3XD) [129] erm, freehold parks, as I said last year we bought nine million pounds worth of freehold now
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [130] [...] tended to depreciate with all this
John (PS3XD) [131] not freehold land freehold buildings we've been depreciating now for many many years.
[132] ... so you know we've actually been doing that is not new as far as we're concerned
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [133] okay
John (PS3XD) [134] [...] no particular reason for the rise its general movements and not a serious movement as far as we're concerned includes the whole element of debtors from ourselves to our wholesale debtors which is our own manufacturing operation where they're selling to outside customers there's nothing particularly significant in that. ...
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [135] How many re-fitted stores have you got now then how many are you planning to re-fit over the next year?
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [136] We've got in the new format sixty of the new new format but what we have been able to do is take elements of the new re-fitted stores and put those [...] for instance erm [...] Pronto we've managed to take those and re-fit them separately but the actual new concept stores sits at about sixty-odd stores and currently what we're doing is to check the [...] that we have had a a re-fits this year erm where we've taken space for other sub-lets where put the new concept back to but as far as the [...] go in majority of the chain now we have most of the major elements i.e an upholstery area bed area Pronto representation and indeed the re-fit that was discussed in the Chairman's statement the kitchen and bedroom re-fit erm was applicable to all stores so all of the stores have got new kitchens and bedrooms in
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [137] So no further re-fitting will substantially [...]
Derek (PS3XC) [138] yeah, erm I would take a guess that there will be because we still have ambitions to shed a load of space so it would be advisable to re-fit to release further space we have another twenty six smaller stores that we haven't done at all yet other than put a [...] so yes we'll have an on-going re-fit programme I can't give you the exact details because erm [...] how many it's gonna be but there will be certainly an on-going re-fit programme. ...
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [139] [...] What is Pronto's inflation [...]
Derek (PS3XC)
John (PS3XD) [140] Pronto is erm an area of the store where we sell our occasional furniture and erm small priced coffee tables, hi-fi units the occasional furniture that may go [...] erm whereas up until a couple of years ago we use to display this product around the showroom floor part of the new concept stores was that we actually [cough] set the same section in the showroom which is very much like a a shelving system whereby the stock actually sits on the shelves, the customer walks in and it's an easy easy purchase straight off the trolley erm very much like the supermarket operation so it's the lower priced good value occasional type furniture the cash and carry the kind of things that you don't need sales assistants for the kind of bookcase that you would put in your children's bedroom that kind of thing.
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [141] As part of the [...] what the stores back in the mid eighties [...] were more expensive suites and so [...] too conflicting we had a fifty or twenty five pound coffee table we sold [...] [...] the two greater mixture so its a methodology of just an ordinary table for exactly without conflict. ...
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [142] What were these what was the sales area of the [...] how much sales area did you actually release in the first half and how much do you expect to go in the second?
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [143] I'll give you the answer to that one just bear with me a moment please I'll try to be precise.
[144] ... [...] right the erm trading area the closing trading area at the end of the November ninety three was six thousand and forty sorry six million [cough] forty thousand square feet at the previous year in April ninety three it was six million and thirty six thousand square feet ...
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [145] that includes France does it?
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [146] That includes France which has seen an increase in footage of a thirty thousand square feet ... and we've also got a number of sub-lets we've indicated that erm sub-lets should pay [...] reduces it
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [147] do these figures include or exclude that sub-let
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [148] they include the sub-let space and where we sub-let space we deduct that space from the trading area figure
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [149] right has it still gone up?
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [150] yeah, because we've opened stores in France and we've also a new store in the U K there's pluses and minuses there's pluses in France pluses in the U K with one new store erm and minuses with the sub-lets ...
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [151] sorry just remind us what proportion is is a flat pack represents of your total sales
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [152] unclear
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [153] fifteen something [...] low eighty per cent obviously varies
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [154] low eighty
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [155] low eighty, low eighty it various from season to season as upholstery is more popular or less popular as beds are more popular at the [...]
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [156] the other question, how seriously do you view the likely impact of the new the budget er change come coming into force in the spring on purchases of consumer durables such as yours bearing in mind your and your customer profile?
John (PS3XD) [157] Yeah I mean we did insert actually in the Chairman's statement a cautionary note about the credit announcement because two years ago we had a similar increase which in fact by the time we got to the end of the year had disappeared so we view it with a lot of caution is the answer if you ask me to be more precise I can't because we've never really had a set of tax increases the like of which we face now ... any other questions?
[158] In fact we oh sorry yes
Unknown speaker (J9NPSUNK) [159] erm sub-lets erm, on the sub-lets [...] a big package deals with any other retailers and what would be the biggest [...]
John (PS3XD) [160] Oh the erm if there is a sort of major beneficiary that [...] Carpet Right because of course we owned the [...] in them [...] fairly decent straight throughout Currys, Dixons and some of the [...] market people Quicksave erm, the sort of spread you'd expect on any retail park you know.
[161] I think that part of our business makes it more difficult because ah the purchase of Allied Carpets by Carpetland is [...] the space of the market at a fairly speedy rate and I personally believe other retailers will have the policy to sub-let surface areas in the next few years so it's something we got on with three years ago and very pleased we did it.
[162] ... Thank you very much for your attention gentlemen