Homewares specialist Dunelm expects full-year profits to come in “significantly ahead” of City expectations after strong sales growth.

Dunelm reported that total sales surged 59% versus the equivalent period in 2019 in the first seven weeks of its fourth quarter, which took in the April 12 reopening of non-essential retail.

Dunelm said that while “there is still some uncertainty in the short-term outlook”, profits are expected to be in excess of £148m compared with a range of between £128m and £134m pencilled in by analysts.

The retailer said: “Sales growth has been very strong since the majority of our stores reopened on April 12 and we continue to see good digital growth from our home-delivery and click-and-collect channels.

“This high sales growth reflects the strength of our customer proposition and a variety of other factors including pent-up demand following the extended store closure period, a buoyant homewares market and some benefit from the unseasonably cold spring weather. In the five weeks since our stores reopened, we have performed significantly ahead of the market.”

Dunelm, which describes itself as the market leader in the £14bn homewares market, trades online and from 175 stores, most of which are out of town.

Home categories have performed strongly for retailers since the start of of the pandemic, as consumers spent more time at home during lockdowns.