Homeware and furniture retailer Dunelm Group today posted encouraging half-year results, as the business’ growth strategy continues apace.
Like-for-like (LFL) sales for the 26-week period ending December 31st 2011 were up 1.1 per cent compared to the same period in 2010, and the company expects that profits before tax for H1 to stand at around £52 million.
The opening of 11 new superstores over the course of the six months helped swell the firm’s property portfolio to 113 and total sales to £299.9 million, an 8.8 per cent increase year-on-year, while four outlets will be opened in the next six months and a further four are in the pipeline.
Nick Wharton, who is approaching his first anniversary as CEO of the business after joining from his role as Finance Director of car parts and bicycle retailer Halfords last year, anticipates room for 150 to 200 stores across the UK.
Commenting on Dunelm’s H1 performance, he said: “Dunelm has achieved robust trading results in a very demanding retail environment, and has continued to gain market share on a LFL basis.
“We have also made significant progress on our longer term development plan, not only delivering a very ambitious store opening programme over the last quarter, but also making fundamental improvements to our online offer that have been well received by customers.”
Gross margin for the H1 period is estimated to have improved by ten basis points compared with the same period in 2010, which reflects an estimated small year-on-year decline in the second quarter.
Despite the ambitious future plans, Wharton is aware of the difficulties currently facing the British retail sector, adding: “We remain cautious about the impact of the UK consumer environment on our trading in the near term.”