Dunelm saw both like-for-like and total sales increase in what it described as a “particularly strong” first quarter of trading.

For the 13 weeks to September 28, 2019 the homewares retailer reported that total like-for-like sales across its stores and ecommerce arm jumped 6.4% to £255.6m, and total sales across Dunelm increased 5.8% to £262.6m, including the benefit of new stores.

Taking into account closed businesses, total group revenue rose 5.8% to £262.6m.

The retailer reported a 34.7% increase in online sales to £35.7m, while gross margin improved 130bps, due to “lower levels of clearance stock compared to prior year”.

Dunelm said the start of the quarter was “particularly strong”; however, it pointed out that trading slowed in September due to a “softer homewares market”.

The retailer also said it continued to test its new digital platform “with a small percentage of our customers” and said it would transfer all web traffic to the new site before Christmas.

Boss Nick Wilkinson praised Dunelm’s “strong growth” over the first quarter.

“We are pleased with our performance in the first quarter, building on the strong growth delivered over the last year. Our customers continue to respond well to our specialist product and service offering and we are excited by the numerous opportunities ahead of us.

“The launch of our new digital platform will be an important milestone in this phase of Dunelm’s development. Once fully live, we can really begin to enhance and extend our offering and customer experience.

“Despite the recent softness in the homewares market and the increased political uncertainty, we are confident we can continue to win market share and our expectations for the full year remain unchanged.”