Like-for-like (LFL) sales fell by 0.6 per cent year-on-year at out-of-town homewares retailer Dunelm, full-year results released today reveal.
Trading in the last 13 weeks of the period ending July 2nd saw a significant improvement however, with LFL sales up 1.9 per cent compared to 2010.
Sales totalled £538.5 million for the full-year and gross margins are reported to have improved by 120 base points but the financial restraint currently being shown by consumers has had a significant effect on the business.
Nick Wharton, CEO of Dunelm, said: “In what has been a particularly challenging year, we are encouraged both by the trading performance and by the strategic development of the business.
“Our focus on constantly improving our customer offer has allowed us to gain market share while expanding gross margins; at the same time our future growth prospects have been enhanced through strengthening the pipeline of new stores and the continuing development of our multi-channel footprint.”
Dunelm grew its superstore portfolio by 10 during the year, with one relocation, meaning it now has a total of 103 properties.
The retailer believes there is capacity for 200 in the UK and following the unveiling of a store in Fareham during the last quarter, Dunelm has confirmed 13 new superstores our currently in the pipeline.
Further capital investment is possible because the group remains highly cash generative, with cleared funds of £31.6 million at the end of year, compared o £10.6 million in 2010, and additional stores fits will be conducted over the next 12 months.
Wharton added: “The combination of satisfactory trading and a disciplined approach to operating costs means that the Board anticipates that profit for the year will be in line with current market expectations.”