Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Dividend windfall for founders of Dunelm

THE founders of homewares chain Dunelm will see their personal fortune swell by another £48m after the group unveiled windfall payments for investors.

The out-of-town and online retailer accompanied a 12.3% leap in annual pre-tax profits with a special dividend worth 25p a share to be paid next month, giving investors a £50.7m boost, on top of a 16p annual ordinary dividend.

The payouts will further increase the Adderley family's personal wealth, as founders Bill and Jean and other family members still own a 58% stake in the group.

According to the latest Sunday Times Rich List, the Adderleys joined the billionaires' club this year with an estimated combined wealth of £1.1bn after Dunelm's value soared.

The group was founded by Bill and Jean Adderley in 1979 as a market stall business, selling ready-made curtains.

The first shop was opened in Leicester in 1984, before it expanded into broader homewares ranges with the opening of the first Dunelm superstore in 1991. The group floated on the stock exchange in 2006.

Bill and Jean are no longer involved in the day-to-day running or management of the business, but their son and former chief executive Will Adderley remains on the board as executive deputy chairman.

Dunelm, based in Syston, Leicestershire, has seen shares rise by more than 50% over the past year as it has continued to shrug off tough retail conditions to increase profits and expand its store chain.

It delivered £108.1m of pre-tax profits over the year to June 29, up from £96.2m the previous year.

Steady expansion plans, which saw it open 14 stores, helped offset a slight slowdown in trading.

While like-for-like revenues grew by 1.7% – almost half the 3.1% seen in its last financial year – it said total turnover increased by 12.2% to £677.2m.

But Dunelm cautioned over more recent trading after sales were hit by the July heatwave.

Nick Wharton, chief executive, said: "The unusually warm summer weather has had a temporary dampening effect on recent trading."

He added: "While recent economic data, particularly the volume of housing transactions, may suggest some improvement in consumer confidence, a degree of caution in relation to the broader UK economic environment remains appropriate."

It is committed to further shop openings, with plans to add another 10 outlets. The group already has 135 stores.

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