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Dunelm sees like for like growth return

Dunelm PalaisDunelm has seen sales grow in July and August after dipping in the previous full year.

‘Sales in the first two months of the new financial year have started positively, with good like for like sales boosted by favourable weather comparatives. We expect to open a total of 8 new stores in the first half of the year of which 4 are already open. An encouraging start. We expect the trading climate to remain challenging with the disposable income of UK consumers under pressure,’ said Andy Harrison, Dunelm chairman.
‘We aim to be the number one choice for homewares and furniture in the UK. We will achieve this by building on the strengths which have underpinned our success to date: our extensive choice of good quality, great value products, backed up by friendly and knowledgeable service, in our nationwide network of over 160 stores.
‘In addition, we are extending our online offering. The acquisition of Worldstores represents a big leap forward in our online scale and capability, together with a substantial expansion of our online product offering, especially in furniture. There is still much to do to integrate fully this acquisition and to deliver its benefits to our customers, colleagues and shareholders, but the progress so far is very encouraging.
‘Over the medium-term we are aiming to double our sales to £2bn, with 30%-40% from the increasingly important online channel. Over the last financial year [to 1 July] we grew our total sales by 8.5% to £955.6m, with the benefit of £54.5m of sales from the Worldstores acquisition. We have continued to win share in a challenging and subdued market environment. Our like-for-like sales were 0.5% lower but our online sales were up 23.5% (excluding Worldstores), demonstrating the changing pattern of customer shopping habits.
‘We still see more opportunity to grow our national store network and we opened seven new superstores in the year, taking our network to 160 superstores. Underlying profit before tax, before exceptional items, fell by 15.2% to £109.3m, the main reasons being the expected losses from the newly acquired Worldstores business, increased investment and the small reduction in our like for like store sales. We stepped up capital investment in the business to £60.5m from £42.5m last year to support the delivery of our strategic goals and longer-term growth, with key investments in our IT systems, supply chain, website and stores. Profits after tax and exceptional items fell [from £102.3m] to £73.1m.’