Value homewares retailer Dunelm’s chief executive Nick Wharton has said he expects cotton prices to stabilise in the next year as he raised the prospect of an easing of the global downturn in 2012.

“Most of the cotton crops are looking quite strong, globally,” he said. “It feels to us as if cotton prices won’t go strongly up or down in either direction. Stability is something we can manage.” Wharton said the wider economic environment could improve next year, but he remained cautious. “There might be some chance of 2012 being a bit better than 2011 from a macro perspective but we’ll plan cautiously and expand confidently,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dunelm revealed pre-tax profits grew 9% to £83.6m, while like-for-likes were down 0.6% in the year to July 2. Revenue increased 9.3% to £538.5m.

Wharton said: “It’s hard work but we continue to develop the proposition. The customer still exists but is incredibly canny.”

He said Dunelm was taking market share as independents contracted. “We’re putting good value in front of the customer,” he said.

The retailer has launched a revamped version of Dunelm at Home – a home consultation service “for more complex jobs” such as curtain fitting, said Wharton.

He added: “We can further differentiate ourselves with services.”