Value homewares group Dunelm has posted strong Christmas trading but warned of toughening conditions to come.

The retailer posted 15.4% per cent like for like growth in the 26 weeks to January 2, when total sales rose 26% to £254.2m and gross margins improved by 200 basis points.

Dunelm reported that more days of its winter Sale fell in the reporting period this year than last, adding two percentage points to the like-for-like figure for the half year.

Chief executive Will Adderley said he was delighted with the performance but cautioned: “Looking ahead, it will be much more difficult to sustain like-for-like growth over the next six to 12 months.

“However we have a strong pipeline of new stores coming through so I am confident that our overall business will continue to grow.”

The calendar effect of the Sale timing is expected to bring like-for-like growth in the second half down by about two percentage points. The passing of year-on-year benefits of competitor collapse and withdrawal and more demanding comparatives are also among factors prompting caution on the part of Dunelm’s bosses, as well as the uncertain outlook for consumer spending.