Homewares retailer Dunelm posted a 5.6 per cent drop in like-for-like sales for the 26 weeks to December 27 but insisted it is in “very robust shape” to weather the downturn.

Total sales rose 2.3 per cent to£201.8 million.

Dunelm chief executive Will Adderley said: “The past few months have been a period of huge turbulence and homewares has been no exception. In this context I believe that Dunelm's performance has been very solid.”

Blue Oar analyst Ian Macdougall said: “This is a decent performance in a ghastly homewares market.”

Teathers analyst Paul Deacon retained his buy rating in the light of Dunelm's “net cash, excellent management and a resilient value positioning”.

The retailer believes it has increased its market share and will carry on with its store expansion programme over the next 12 to 18 months, which includes opening 150 superstores. At present Dunelm has 79 superstores.

The retailer expects gross margin over the period to be about 100 basis points higher than last year.