Dunelm says it’s seen strong growth across channels in summer trading. In July, sales were up by almost 60% on last year, as shoppers were keen to buy following months in which stores were closed.
The homewares retailer, ranked Elite in RXUK Top500 research, today said in a trading update that sales grew by 59% in July, compared to the same time last year, thanks to pent-up demand and the timing of its summer sale. In August sales were up by 24% year-on-year. The performance, said Dunelm, reflected strong growth in online sales for home delivery, and because more shoppers visited its out-of-town superstores. It’s also benefited from the resilience of the homewares market during the coronavirus pandemic. Dunelm’s stores and website both closed when non-essential shops were ordered to shut in March. But, classed as an essential retailer, they reopened after the retailer put safety measures in place to protect both customers and staff.
Retail performance has been well ahead of Dunelm’s initial expectations, so far in this financial year. But it says it’s still difficult to say what will happen in the rest of the year “given the uncertainty in the wider economy and the potential impact of further regional or national lockdowns”. But, it added: “We remain confident in our ability to adapt to the environment and are well positioned to continue to grow market share.”
Our view: Dunelm has in recent years made expansion of its multichannel capabilities a key focus. It completed its shift to a new ecommerce platform capable of supporting services such as click and collect as recently as December 2019. At the time it said the launch of the new digital platform, built on technology acquired through its takeover of Worldstores in 2016, would be an “important milestone”. Today the move looks more than ever to have been a very well-timed strategic shift towards significantly increasing its capacity for multichannel retailing.