Dunelm enjoys Christmas sales boost despite store closures

Homewares retailer Dunelm has revealed a surge in sales despite stores being closed due to the company being classed as a “non-essential” business.

Bosses said sales jumped 11.8% to £360.4 million in the 13 weeks to December 26 as customers took advantage of click-and-collect facilities which could continue under Government tiering and lockdown guidelines.

Online sales accounted for 40% of total sales during the period, compared with just 21% during the same period a year earlier, with stores seemingly heaving during the brief window they could open in December.

The surge came despite supply chain issues with products from Asia due to a global container shortage during the period and disruption at UK ports.

Delays are now between two and three weeks, it said.

The majority of the store estate closed during November under England’s second national lockdown and Welsh stores shut for 16 days in mid-November.

Subsequently, the new tiering system towards the end of December led to stores again shutting their doors.

With households looking to update their homes, Dunelm was also able to raise profit margins by around 10 basis points compared with a year ago thanks to fewer discounts offered and savings on sourcing.

Currently all 174 stores are closed but 169 remain operational for click and collect, whilst home delivery remains normal, the company explained.

But despite the closures, the Dunelm bosses said they have no plans to claim under the Job Retention Scheme, having already repaid £14.5 million claimed under the furlough programme last year.

Chief executive Nick Wilkinson said: “Our strong performance continued into the second quarter, whilst we adapted to the various restrictions and resulting store closures across our estate.”

He added: “Beyond this near term uncertainty, we’ve never felt more confident about the future.

“Our scalable proposition combines an in-store and digital offer which, with agile technology, we will continue to develop at pace.

“As our homes play an increasingly important role for all of us, we are well placed to build even closer relationships with our customers and extend our market leadership.”