Dunelm like-for-likes continued to improve in its final quarter, rising 5.5%, which has taken its full-year, like-for-like growth to 2.1%.
The homewares retailer’s total sales jumped 12% to £178.4m in the 13 weeks to June 28. Over the year sales grew 7.8% to £730.2m.
Dunelm was against weak comparatives as the heatwave last summer held back sales but said its investment in “strengthening and differentiating” its customer proposition had paid off.
It has invested in its new multichannel fulfilment operation and £3m in its first national TV advertising campaign, along with the roll out with its home design service Dunelm At Home.
Dunelm said this had been well received by customers and it expected the sales benefit from them to continue into the new financial year.
It plans to upgrade its front-end web platform during the summer to further improve the customer experience.
Sales from new space contributed 5.7% growth over the full financial year as it opened 12 new stores over the year. It now operates from 136 stores but wants to increase this to 200 shops in the medium term.
The homewares specialist has also focused on margin improvement through direct sourcing. Gross margin improved 50 basis points during the final quarter taking its full year total to 80 basis points.
Dunelm chief executive Nick Wharton said: “We have continued our strategy of increasing scale through new store openings and multichannel growth whilst investing in our customer proposition for the future. During the period we have increased the rate of that investment, ensuring we continue to provide our customers with market leading choice and expertise, helping us to maintain our differentiation from competitors over the long term.
“With a strong pipeline of new stores, further enhancements to our multichannel capability and a positive response to the continuing development of our customer proposition, the board remains confident in the group’s long-term growth prospects.”
The retailer expects to make £116m in pre-tax profit for the year.