Dunelm recorded robust online growth but lower store sales in its third quarter despite a “challenging consumer backdrop”.

The homewares specialist’s like-for-likes increased 4.6% during the 13 weeks to March 31, driven by 35.7% spike in online sales.

However, comparable store sales growth of 1.2% marked a slowdown on the 3.5% gain Dunelm recorded during its first half.

Total revenue for the quarter climbed 5.1% to £268.2m, driving revenue growth for the retailer’s year-to-date to 13.7%.

Gross margin during the 13-week period dropped, however, with core Dunelm margins down 95bps, reflecting a drop-off in benefit from last year’s retail price increases and a higher proportion of end-of-season sales.

Dunelm said it expects margins to improve in the final quarter of the year as it relies less on end-of-season sales and drives ongoing improvements from its Worldstores business.

New chief executive Nick Wilkinson hailed the “good” sales performance, which he insisted had been achieved “despite a challenging consumer backdrop”.

He said market share gains in homewares and ecommerce indicated the brand’s strength and added: “I am increasingly excited about the opportunities available to Dunelm to develop and grow a truly multichannel proposition.”