Value homewares retailer Dunelm has posted a leap in preliminary profits, but like-for-like sales have plummeted in the new financial year.

Dunelm notched up a 19.8 per cent increase in underlying profit before tax to£49.1 million last year, on sales up 10.5 per cent to£391.8 million. Like-for-likes rose 2.5 per cent for the year.

However, in the 10 weeks to September 6, comparable store sales slid 5.7 per cent. Total sales advanced 3.1 per cent.

Dunelm chief executive Will Adderley said: “The last financial year was, again, excellent. The like-for-like sales performance in recent weeks – albeit we were up against strong comparatives – confirms that trading has become increasingly difficult.

“These market conditions provide us with clear opportunities to grow our store portfolio and to strengthen our business relative to our competitors.”

Other than increasing superstore numbers, Dunelm’s strategic priorities are to develop its customer offer, exploit its infrastructure and expand its online business.