Procurement policy
Work on the new store programme is competitively tendered. An approved list of suppliers is used for the refurbishment programme, with the companies being reviewed on a regular basis. Major refurbishment projects will be tendered with prices based on agreed rates.

Current and future projects
MFI has developed a new store concept with the help of design specialist Conran Design, based on making the store look like a home. The company is transforming its out-of-town MFI chain and, in June 2002, had 39 stores in the new format. By the end of 2002, this number was expected to have increased to 78.

MFI will undertake another intensive refurbishment programme this year. This will start in April, after the winter sales period, and run until August. It is expected that the programme should be substantially complete by the fourth quarter of 2003.

The Howden Joinery operations have grown significantly. From 86 depots in 1998, they numbered 228 at December 2001 and are projected to rise to 300-350 outlets by the end of 2003.

In its interim results for the six months to June 2002, MFI reported that its capital expenditure programme amounted to £39m and forecast that, by the year-end, this would reach £95m, a rise of more than 60% on 2001's total.

Investment in 2003 is expected to remain at least at 2002's level, most of which will be in the UK. This is based on the fact that more than half of the company's MFI outlets have still to be reformatted, and on the continuing growth in its Howden outlets.

Overseas investment, such as in France and Taiwan, and the group's manufacturing operations are also expected to grow in 2003.

Essential information
The MFI Furniture Group, which has sales in excess of £1.2bn, comprises three operating units: its UK retail division MFI, Howden Joinery and its Hygena Cuisines division in France.

At December 2001, the group had 209 MFI stores, most of which were in out-of-town locations, 112 Hygena at Currys outlets, 228 Howden Joinery depots and 124 Hygena Cuisines in France. By November 2002, the French outlets had grown to 132.

The company is expanding its product range and, as of November 2002, was selling bathrooms in 77 UK stores.

In November 2002, MFI acquired the entire issued share capital of the Sofa Workshop Holdings Limited and The Sofa Workshop Direct Holdings for £12.25m, in line with MFI's market development strategy. MFI is also piloting 12 Howden depots in America and, through a joint venture, has 12 stores in Taiwan.


Key contact
Project manager Mike Beeby Contact details
Southon House, 333 The Hyde,
Edgware Road, London NW9 6TD
phone: 020-8200 8000
fax: 020-8913 5181

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