Belfast Telegraph

Dunelm homeware chain boss set to hand over reins

The boss of homeware chain Dunelm has announced plans to give up day-to-day running of the firm his parents started from a market stall in 1979.

Will Adderley will remain on the board of Dunelm, which has four stores in Northern Ireland, to work on specific aspects of the business after his 15-year spell as chief executive helped grow the company's annual revenues to almost £500m.

The move, which will take place in February, was announced as Dunelm reported a rise of 46% in pre-tax profits to £76.8m in the year to July 3.

Mr Adderley said the out-of-town chain continued to grow its share of the homeware market after it opened more stores and benefited from its position as a value-for-money retailer.

He will hand over to Nick Wharton, who is currently finance director of Halfords, and has been a Dunelm director since 2009.

News of his departure follows healthy results over the year ending July 2010. Sales are up 18.2% to £492.8m, including a like-for-like increase of 8%, and the gross margin is up 190 basis points to 46.8% compared to 44.9% in 2009.

Mr Adderley, who owns 35% of the company, said his family remained "totally committed, both emotionally and financially" to Dunelm for the long term. His parents Bill and Jean still own a 24% holding.

From a Leicester curtain stall in 1979, the family has grown the business into the third largest firm in the £12bn UK homewares market, with 106 stores. It joined the London stock market in 2006, and is valued at just under £800m.