// Dunelm has seen sales drop during its fourth quarter
// The retailer saw online sales rise as shoppers chose to stay home
Dunelm has experienced a sales drop during its fourth quarter despite posting “significant” growth in its online business.
The homewares retailer saw total sales drop 28.6 per cent in its fourth quarter, as like-for-likes in its stores tumbled 49.7 per cent.
Despite this, online sales almost doubled during the 16 weeks to June 27, increasing by a colossal 85.2 per cent.
Home delivery sales rose 105.6 per cent as shoppers stayed at home even as the lockdown was eased.
Dunelm closed its stores and online operations on March 24 but has reopened all of its shops in phases over the past three months, with social distancing measures in place.
All 148 in-store cafes remained closed, although Dunelm said it expects to reopen these before the end of July.
The retailer has “benefited” from the investments it has made in its online offer, which allowed it to grow ecommerce sales.
Moreover, Dunelm made losses during April and May and said full-year sales were down 3.9 per cent to £1.05 billion.
However, the business still expects to register pre-tax profit of between £105 million and £110 million when it publishes its preliminary results.
“The decisions we have made over the last few months have been guided by our principles and values and we are emerging from this unprecedented period as a stronger business,” Dunelm chief executive Nick Wilkinson said.
“This has given us the confidence to accelerate our digital transition and introduce new ways of serving our customers,” he said.
“There is lots more to do and we are energised to evolve our customer proposition and operations at pace, as we continue to navigate an uncertain external environment.”
Last month, Dunelm opened a new high street concept store on the West Sussex town of Crawley.
The new store, Dunelm Edit, brought together highlights and bestsellers handpicked by Dunelm’s design team and local customers via focus groups.
The Crawley concept store featured products that are most popular in the area and Dunelm said this localised edit concept would be replicated in future iterations of the store concept as it expands.