Dunelm is focusing on multichannel as it looks to boost its ecommerce potential. More than a third, or more than 16m, of its overall customer visits came through its website, “our biggest shop window”, during the first half of the homewares retailer’s financial year, it said today, while 4% of its sales were made online. “Expanding our multichannel operation is therefore an investment priority,” the company said in its first-half statement.
Dunelm currently trades through 133 Dunelm Mill stores and online through www.dunelm-mill.com and www.dorma.co.uk. It said today that total revenues rose by 13.4% to £340.1m in the 26 weeks to December 29, from £299.9m at the same time last year, with like-for-like sales up by 2.2%. Pre-tax profits rose by 14.6% to £59.8m, from £52.2m last year.
Multichannel is one of four key elements of Dunelm’s business strategy, which also includes developing its specialist position within the £11bn homewares market, developing its store portfolio, and upgrading its IT systems, including the ecommerce platform.
The company says strong growth has helped it to hit the point where 4% of its sales come online. It launched a mobile-optimised version of its website early last year, and now 15% of its online visits come via smartphones. Online features include web exclusive ranges of furniture.
Most of its multichannel transactions in the first half of the year were ordered online and delivered direct to home, with “a proportion” reserved online and collected in store. But the company says it will now work on more convenient delivery options, and look at boosting its fulfillment capacity as it revisits its fulfillment arrangements running up to the summer.
“We have made good strategic progress during the period, particularly supported by our work to improve customer service, the continued expansion of our store portfolio across the UK and the progress made in our online offering,” said Dunelm chief executive Nick Wharton.
“The final quarter of our financial year presents some challenging like-for-like sales comparatives but with a significant new store growth opportunity and an exciting multichannel agenda in place, the board remains confident in the overall growth prospects for the business.”
Dunelm started life as a market stall selling ready-made curtains in 1979. Its first shop opened in Leicester in 1984, and the first Dunelm superstore opened in 1991, selling a broader range of homewares. Today its 124 superstores carry a range of more than 20,000 products, from home textiles to kitchenware, dining, furniture, rugs and lighting. Ten of its total 133 stores, which include nine high street outlets, were opened in the first half of this year.