Homewares retailer Dunelm has reported a rise in profits despite a decline in like-for-likes sales in the first half.

Dunelm said a “marked reduction in footfall during the unusually warm summer” caused like-for-likes to decline 0.9% in the 26 weeks to December 28. Like-for-likes in the second quarter rose 2.9%.

Pre-tax profits at Dunelm increased 2.9% to £61.6m in the first half while total sales rose 4.8% to £356.3m. Operating profits rose 4.5% to £62m.

Dunelm’s operating costs increased by £8.8m, a 8.1% rise, as it invested in new stores, its first big TV advertising campaign and multichannel. Multichannel made up 6% of its sales in the second quarter

Dunelm chief executive Nick Wharton is enacting a strategy to improve the retailer’s specialist proposition, its infrastructure and multichannel capabilities and expand its store portfolio.

Wharton said: “Dunelm has delivered strong trading results over the period and has made further important strategic progress.

“We have further strengthened our customer offer, particularly through service, and improved our infrastructure, whilst increasing scale through expanding the store portfolio and growing multichannel.”

He added: “Whilst we are cautious about consumer spending trends overall, the combination of a customer offer that continues to appeal to a broad spread of consumers, a significant new store growth opportunity and an exciting multi-channel agenda all provide us with a high degree of confidence in Dunelm’s future growth prospects.”