Homewares retailer Dunelm has reported interim pre-tax profit up 24.4 per cent to £27.2 million, but warned that second-half trading will prove tougher, writes Jennifer Creevy.

Sales rose 10.6 per cent to£197.4 million in the first half, when like-for-likes climbed 4.9 per cent. The retailer emphasised that one of its strengths is its low-cost operating model, reflected in an operating margin of 14 per cent.

Dunelm chief executive Will Adderley said: “Our customer proposition is very compelling, with value for money and a wide range of homewares. This year, we have seen a softening in the market, but we have a robust business that is very defensive if it needs to be.”

Citi analyst James Targett said: “Organic superstore growth, supply chain initiatives and the development of its online offer should offer substantial growth prospects for the group.”