Dunelm said it benefited from weak comparables - this time last year heavy snow put off shoppers - as well as “ongoing investments which have strengthened our customer proposition”.
Total sales were up 9.9% to £195.4m after the homewares retailer increased its selling space. Dunelm has opened 10 superstores in the financial year to date.
Gross margin improved by about 100 basis points in the quarter as Dunelm upped its direct sourcing activity. The retailer said it anticipates that margin growth will continue over the remainder of the financial year.
Dunelm has been investing in its multichannel offer, the further roll-out of its Dunelm At Home proposition, enhanced customer service training, continuation of TV advertising and an expanded spring catalogue.
It expects to open a further two superstores by the end of the financial year, taking its total to 136 stores. The retailer is targeting 200 superstores in the medium term.
Dunelm chief executive Nick Wharton said: “Dunelm has again delivered a period of solid progress. This reflects, in part, our willingness to invest to underpin the longer-term growth of the business - including in increased advertising to build brand awareness, further enhancing our home delivery proposition, and expanding our in-home consultation service.
“These investments will continue, increasing our operating cost ratio whilst benefiting sales and further strengthening our market-leading proposition.
“With clear opportunities to develop further our in-store offer, to expand our store portfolio and to benefit from our exciting multichannel and customer service initiatives, the board remains confident in the growth prospects for the business.”