Dunelm has suffered a decline in like-for-like sales across its full year despite a trading boost during its fourth quarter.

The homewares business said like-for-like sales slipped 0.5% to £834.8m in the year to July 1, with store like-for-likes down 2.4% during the 52-week period.

Total sales for the Dunelm group, including the newly acquired Worldstores business, advanced 8.5% to £955.6m across the year.

Dunelm said like-for-like sales during its fourth quarter – the 13 weeks to July 1 – jumped 3.8% to £199.7m.

Store like-for-likes climbed 1.3% during the same period.

The retailer said total sales across the group jumped 17.7% to £240m in the fourth quarter.

Stripping out the impact of Worldstores, Dunelm sales grew 6.7% to £217.4m across the 13-week period.

Dunelm hailed its fourth quarter performance as “good” and highlighted “strong growth” in home delivery sales, which spiked 32.1% in the fourth quarter and 23.5% across the full year.

However, despite an increase in fourth-quarter sales, Dunelm admitted it did not experience the positive impact it had been expecting from the later timing of Easter.

Dunelm had predicted approximately 1.5% of like-for-like sales to shift from the third to the fourth quarter, but sales over Easter slumped 7% compared to the previous year.

The retailer said that had an adverse impact of 1.7% on like-for-like growth.

Dunelm said its gross margin, excluding Worldstores, decreased by approximately 75bps in the fourth quarter.

It attributed this to increased markdowns on end of season stock, following a focus on increasing newness in ranges.

Despite that impact, Dunelm said gross margin for the year would be “broadly flat” compared to the previous 12 months.

It said pre-exceptional pre-tax profit for the year to July 1 would be in the range of £109m to £111m – circa 3% below consensus.

Growing market share

Dunelm boss John Browett said: “The Worldstores acquisition will provide a massive leap forward to our online and store offer that we think our customers will love. The integration is going well and we are confident in the benefits it will generate.

“We’ve seen a good quarter of trade with positive like-for-like sales growth and a very strong online performance. Encouragingly, we continue to take market share.

“We continue to invest in the business for the longer term to improve our customer proposition and infrastructure and, despite an uncertain consumer environment, we go into the next financial year with some good momentum.”

Dunelm unveils its preliminary results on September 13.