Dunelm like-for-likes dropped 5.3% in its first quarter following a “marked reduction” in footfall during the heatwave.

Total sales edged up 1.7% to £154.3m in what the retailer said was a “volatile” quarter

The 126-store retailer said it suffered a “significant decline” in sales in the first four weeks of the 13 weeks to September 28 however it returned to like-for-like growth over the remainder of the quarter.  

Gross margins continued to increase year on year, up an estimated 70 basis points. Dunelm said increased direct sourcing and a cleaner inventory had helped boost margin.

Dunelm chief executive Nick Wharton said: “As previously indicated, the hot weather made it a difficult start to the quarter for Dunelm with trading in the early weeks significantly affected by lower footfall.

“A return to like-for-like growth over the remainder of the quarter underlines the quality and strength of the Dunelm offer and we continue to see good opportunities for growth both through new stores and multi-channel. The development of our customer offer continues, including a major TV advertising trial now under way which is designed to communicate better our market leading proposition.”