MFI recruits top marketer to lead retail expansion

MFI, the UK's biggest furniture retailer, has hired retail veteran Steven Round as its marketing director as it expands its presence on the UK's high streets.

Round is a former marketing director of Superdrug, interim brand director at Kwik Save and ex-managing director of Woolworths General Store. He joined MFI earlier this month, where he reports to Mark Horgan, executive director of MFI UK.

Round's arrival follows buoyant half-year results for the retail group announced last week. Profits for the MFI chain were up 12% to £31.4m, contributing to a rise in group profits of £13m to £59.3m.

The turnaround of MFI, which has shrugged off its dowdy image by introducing exclusive premium brands and revamping its marketing strategy, will trigger a doubling of the chain's high-street stores to about 50 over the next few years.

MFI spends about £16.5m on advertising through Publicis. It recently introduced a celebrity-led TV ad strategy, using the tagline 'Make it Yours'. The firm's competitors include IKEA and Courts.

"MFI is a company that is genuinely putting consumer understanding at the heart of its business strategy, and its growth prospects are significant," said Steve Gotham, an analyst at Verdict Research.

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