Out-of-town homewares retailer Dunelm Group has today reported a two per cent year-on-year drop in like-for-like (LFL) sales for the first quarter of its financial year.
Despite the decline in consumer spending on non-essential items over the last year, its total sales in the 13 weeks to October 1st 2011 actually grew 5.3 per cent however, largely thanks to the retailer’s continued growth in selling space.
Revenues totalled £133.4 million for the quarter, compared to £126.7 million in Q1 2010, British Retail Consortium data shows that the group has grown market share LFL during the period, and Dunelm says that gross margin is up 50 basis points compared to last year.
Nick Wharton, CEO of Dunelm, said: “Despite the challenges provided by the UK consumer environment, our ‘Simply Value for Money’ proposition continues to resonate with customers in both established and new stores.”
Growth in its store portfolio remains a priority for the company as UK trading remains weak, and in Q1 new space contributed 7.3 per cent to year-on-year LFL sales growth.
At the end of the period cleared net funds amounted to £34.3 million after investments in a new outlet and the completion of a new head office building during the quarter.
One new superstore in Dartford has opened since the beginning of the financial year, making a total of 104 across the UK, whilst ten new stores are set to open in the second quarter and four more should follow in the second half.
Wharton continued: “Given the current environment we continue to take a disciplined approach to operating costs.
“Nevertheless, we remain confident about the growth opportunities provided both from store expansion and via the web, where we have just completed the launch of full reserve & collect functionality.”