Dunelm lift bucks the retail gloom

HOMEWARES retailer Dunelm has bucked the gloom engulfing Britain’s retail market, reporting yesterday an improvement in sales as it benefits from a low-price focus and breadth of range.

The group, which runs more than 100 mostly out-of-town stores selling items such as kitchenware, lighting, bedding and rugs, said sales at shops open at least a year rose 1.9 per cent in the 13 weeks to 2 July, its fiscal fourth quarter.

Sales for the full financial year fell 0.6 per cent on the same basis.

“The combination of satisfactory trading and a disciplined approach to operating costs means the board anticipates that profit for the year will be in line with market expectations,” chief executive Nick Wharton said.

Britain’s retailers, particularly those focused on discretionary purchases, have been hit hard as shoppers curb spending amid rising prices and austerity measures.

Homeform, the owner of Moben Kitchens and Dolphin Bathrooms, appointed administrators on Wednesday and sold its Sharps Bedroom business.

Dunelm said it was gaining market share and that its gross profit margins rose around 120 basis points over the full year.

Dunelm shares jumped 11.1 per cent yesterday to close at 450.5p.