MFI’s supply chain hits profits

Poorly-performing IT systems have led to a sharp dip in MFI’s profits for 2004, the retailer said in its preliminary statement.

Ongoing problems with its supply chain system, which led to FD Martin Clifford King’s departure last year, hit group profits and in particular its UK Retail arm.

Profit before tax was £25m compared to £117.9m in 2003. A systems write down plus related costs came to £20m.

‘We are making progress in addressing these [supply chain] issues and 2005 will be a year of stabilisation and recovery in UK Retail with further growth in Howden Joinery,’ said chief executive John Hancock.

Problems with MFI’s supply chain had led to ‘significant disruption’ to its home delivery service last year, the group stated.

A ‘root cause analysis’ of the problems revealed additional technical problems and ‘two critical underlying business requirements – better data quality and more accurate inventory forecasting’.

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