Dunelm has reported like-for-like sales up 5.2% in its third quarter as it benefitted from a later end to its winter Sale and an earlier Easter than the year before.

For the 13 weeks to March 30, the homewares retailer reported total sales growth of 15.4% to £177.8m. Dunelm opened three stores in the period, including one relocation, taking the total store openings in its financial year to date to 13.

Dunelm chief executive Nick Wharton said: “After a further period of solid trading and strategic progress, we now annualise our exceptionally strong comparative performance in the final quarter of last financial year. Accordingly, we anticipate that sales growth in like for like stores will become much harder to achieve in the remainder of the current financial year.

“With clear opportunities to strengthen further our customer offer in store, to roll out more new stores and to benefit from our exciting multi-channel agenda, the board remains confident in the longer term growth prospects for the business.”

Dunelm said gross margin for the quarter is estimated to have continued its positive trend with an improvement of approximately 20 basis points compared with the year before.

The retailer will open 14 new stores in its full financial year, bringing its store estate to 126. Dunelm’s medium term target is to have 200 shops.

Dunelm said its expansion of its web fulfillment centre by summer 2013 remains on track.