Thursday 14 January 2021 9:40 am

Dunelm sales jump as lockdown fuels interest in homewares

Dunelm recorded a jump in sales in the weeks leading up to Christmas despite the closure of its stores, as lockdown measures continued to fuel an interest in home improvements and interior decorating. 

The retailer said total sales were up 11.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to 26 December, driven by “buoyant” consumer demand for homewares. 

Read more: Dunelm to repay furlough cash after sharp rise in sales

Dunelm secured sales growth despite intermittent store closures during the period. 

Despite the strong numbers, shares in the retailer were down 7.3 per cent this morning.

The majority of Dunelm branches were temporarily shuttered for four weeks in November, Welsh stores were closed for 16 days in October and many branches were impacted by regional restrictions implemented in December.

When stores were open, Dunelm said it performed “significantly ahead of the market”. 

The firm’s online home delivery business has more than doubled since last year, and click and collect has soared during the period. 

It said it assumed that the services will continue to be permitted going forward, however some other retailers – including John Lewis – have suspended click and collect in order to discourage non-essential travel. 

The option has also been banned by the Scottish Government, sparking fears that click and collect could also be suspended in other parts of the UK.

Profit before tax for the first half of the financial year is expected to be around £112m, up from £83.6m last year, which includes the £14.5m of repaid furlough money.

Dunelm is preparing for a return to more normal trading in the final quarter of the financial year. 

Dunelm chief executive Nick Wilkinson said: “Beyond this near term uncertainty, we’ve never felt more confident about the future. 

Read more: Dunelm pulls final dividend as it forecasts a brighter 2021

“Our scalable proposition combines an in-store and digital offer which, with agile technology, we will continue to develop at pace.

“As our homes play an increasingly important role for all of us, we are well placed to build even closer relationships with our customers and extend our market leadership.”