Dunelm this morning announced it will reinstate its dividend as sales boomed – despite store closures in lockdown – due strong consumer demand for homewares.
Total sales soared 23 per cent from £585m to £719.4m in the first half of the year and profit before tax was up 34.4 per cent from £83.6m to £112.4m.
Digital sales surged 111 per cent while stores were closed and accounted for 35 per cent of all purchases, up from 20.4 per cent the previous year.
Dunelm also reported net cash of £140.9m, up from debt of £67.7m.
It will pay an interim dividend of 12p per share, reflecting its strong performance and “confidence in the medium-term outlook”.
The homeware market has boomed during the pandemic as people have been forced to spend more time in their houses.
Dunelm said that the “events of the last year have created more ‘home lovers’ and new needs for existing ones as the home continues to play an even more important role in all of our lives”.
Social distancing restrictions “turbo-charged” its digital sales, while the out of town locations of its stores make it well-placed for attracting customers when lockdown is lifted, it said.
Nick Wilkinson, Dunelm chief executive, said: “Sales were particularly strong in the first quarter, before we had to navigate the various restrictions which impacted the remainder of the period.
“These restrictions have become more severe in the second half of our financial year, with all but one of our stores currently closed, although we continue to serve customers through our digital channels, which have significantly advanced during the last year.
“Beyond the near-term uncertainty, we have never been more confident about the future. Dunelm is a market leader with a challenger brand mentality, in a large and growing segment.
“We have a clear runway to grow active customers and their frequency across our total retail system and to realise our long-term ambitions.”