Belfast Telegraph

Sales up, but Dunelm still guarded

By Holly Williams

Homewares chain Dunelm, which has fives stores in Northern Ireland, has warned over retail and consumer uncertainty despite hailing resilient first-quarter trading.

The group, which has 169 out-of-town superstores and three high street outlets, reported a 4.2% jump in like-for-like sales as an impressive online performance offset weaker shop trading.

Dunelm said like-for-like store sales rose 1.3% in the 13 weeks to September 29, boosted by tablet-based sales for home delivery.

With this stripped out, like-for-like shop sales fell 0.4% on an underlying basis.

But its online sales leapt 33% higher in the quarter.

Shares lifted 3% after the update.

Chief executive Nick Wilkinson said: "We delivered a good trading performance in the first quarter.

"We continue to improve the multichannel experience for our customers.

"Our stores play a vital role in this."

But he added that the group remains "cautious about the months ahead due to the level of market and customer uncertainty". Dunelm, which employs around 10,000 staff, recently posted a 6.7% fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £102m for the year to June 30.

It blamed management upheaval, an £8.4m outlay from its recent Worldstores acquisition and difficult trading conditions for the second year in a row of falling profits.

Belfast Telegraph