Dunelm has posted an increase in first-half profits as the drive to simplify its business model bore fruit.

The homewares specialist registered a 24.3% jump in reported pre-tax profit to £70m during the 26 weeks to December 29, 2018. EBITDA was up 21.5% to £92.8m.

Dunelm said total revenues climbed 1.2% to £551.8m, while like-for-likes advanced 6.9% to £506.7m.

The retailer hailed the impact of focusing on the core Dunelm business and simplifying its operations.

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Dunelm said it saw ‘significant opportunity’ to grow its customer base

During the half, Dunelm closed both the Kiddicare and Worldstores websites, transferring the lines it wanted to continue selling to Dunelm.com. Online sales grew 35.8%, aided by that strategy.

Store sales advanced 3.8%, which Dunelm attributed to improved product selection and sourcing, with a renewed focus on “offering more style and better value to customers”.

It added that “more rigorous” control of end-of-season clearance sales meant there was less discounting during the half.

Dunelm said it saw “significant opportunity” to grow its customer base and that its customer proposition would “evolve significantly” to drive growth.

Boss Nick Wilkinson said: “It’s been a good first six months with our strong performance reflecting the focus we have placed back on the core Dunelm business. The like-for-like revenue growth, both in stores and online, demonstrates the progress we are making in improving our multichannel proposition whilst maintaining the breadth and depth of our specialist customer offer in homewares.”

But he cautioned: “As previously highlighted, we are cautious about the outlook for the remainder of the financial year due to the continuing political uncertainty in the UK. We are confident in delivering market expectations for the full year, assuming no material change in the macroeconomic environment.”