Homewares retailer Dunelm’s like-for-likes jumped 8.9% in its first quarter helped by weak comparatives during last year’s heatwave.

Total sales surged 17% to £180.6m during the 13 weeks to September 28 at the homewares retailer.

However, Dunelm highlighted that the strong performance was pitched against weak comparatives last year when the unusually warm weather subdued footfall.

Gross margin increased 40 basis points over the period.

Dunelm continues to expand its 137 store business. It has 11 new stores under contract, including one relocation, which are expected to commence trading in the current financial year.

Dunelm chief executive Will Adderley said: “Our sales performance has been strong in the first quarter, driven partly by soft comparatives from last year but also by the strength of the Dunelm offer and an increasing awareness of that offer across the UK.”

 “As we look forward, our focus is very much on driving sales. We intend to capitalise on the significant investments we have made, and continue to make, across our business to underpin long term growth; and we intend to keep on delivering excellent value and service to our customers. 

“Despite the inevitable short-term impact of those investments, I am confident that we can continue to deliver significant profitable growth over the years to come.”