British home furnishings retailer Dunelm is expanding into furniture in a bid to expand its business. The move comes after the retailer posted a pre-tax profit rise of 2.9% to $101 million in the 26 weeks to December 28. Total sales were up 4.8% to $585 m illion, while like-for-likes fell 0.9% after a poor first quarter that was impacted by the unusually warm weather. Like-for-likes fell 5.3% in the first quarter before rising 2.9% in the second quarter.
According to Dunelm chief executive Nick Wharton, the retailer is carefully expanding into furniture, predominantly cabinetry. It will also launch its first garden furniture range towards the end of its current financial year. “Customers trust the Dunelm brand and are quite happy to buy furniture from us,” he adds.
“From a trading perspective it felt like a game of two halves. We’ve continued to make good progress across the whole business. We’ve achieved a lot from a strategic point of view. We’ve repositioned the brand. We had our first national TV trial, and the initial results are pleasing and are slightly ahead of expectations. Online sales also increased 50% in the half year, and multichannel sales now represent 6% of total revenues. And we have also opened five net superstores in the said period, taking the store count to 131,” Wharton remarks.