Sofa retailer DFS reported a year of record sales and profits, but admitted shoppers stayed away during the hot summer weather.
The private equity-owned group, which is reportedly being primed for a £1 billion stock market flotation, claimed it is seizing more of the market as it wins more upmarket trade with its Country Living and French Connection-branded sofas.
The 99-store chain reported 4.9% growth in underlying earnings to £86 million in the year to the end of July. Sales were up 7.4% to £670.8 million amid signs that Britain's surging housing market is boosting furniture sales.
But DFS said results for the current August to October quarter - typically its quietest period - will reflect shrinking customer numbers and orders during the "unusually hot summer".
The Doncaster-based chain, owned by Advent International, is reportedly preparing for a stock market flotation, three years after it was sold by Lord Kirkham in a deal worth £590 million, to cash in on surging home sales.
Official figures recently showed a pick-up in retail sales in September, boosted by 3% growth at household goods stores, suggesting momentum in the housing market may be feeding through to the sector.
The chain opened a net eight stores during the year and has since added two in Aintree and Ipswich.
Chief executive Ian Filby hailed "another year of progress" and said DFS grew its share in a "challenging marketplace".
He said: "The performance of our new stores, new products, innovative marketing and expanding multi-channel offer enables us to remain confident that DFS will continue to deliver long-term profitable growth as the UK market-leader in upholstered furniture."
The retailer is reportedly one of six high street carpet and furniture retailers under investigation for using artificially high prices to exaggerate sales and price cuts.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) recently opened the investigation after finding many retailers in the sector were misleading customers into thinking they were getting a bargain by artificially inflating the original price.
The OFT wrote to the six retailers asking them to stop using the pricing practices that mislead consumers, giving them until autumn to respond.
DFS declined to comment on the OFT probe or a possible flotation.
DFS said a website overhaul will cater for its growing number of customers who are shopping through tablet PCs and smartphones.
It recently launched a new range of sofas under the Country Living, French Connection and House Beautiful brands, which it said is "strengthening our appeal to more aspirational consumers".
And it has struck a contract with a second financing firm to offer interest-free credit to its customers.
DFS said it grew annual profits despite investing £2.6 million in new stores and re-launching its website.