Dunelm has reported strong online growth in the first half of its year. Ecommerce grew by more than a third, rising strongly following its transition to a new web platform – and in-store sales were also up.
The homewares retailer said Dunelm’s sales came in at £332.4m (+6.1%) in its second quarter, to December 28, and at £585m (+6.7%) in the half-year to the same date. That was driven to some extent by store openings, but like-for-like sales excluding store openings and closures were up by 5% in the second quarter and 5.6% in the half-year. Online sales grew by more than a third (+33.2%) in the second half to £83.4m, while store sales of £485.2m were 2% up on last time. The retailer says it expects first-half pre-tax profits to come in at about £83m, following accountancy changes, and that its full-year expectations are unchanged.
The retailer did not take part in Black Friday or discount ahead of Christmas. Instead, it said that it was committed to “everyday great value”. It said that its gross margins improved by about 110 base percentage points (bps) as a result in the second quarter, and by 120bps in the year to date.
Before Christmas Dunelm said that it had completed the move to its new digital platform, using the platform acquired through its Worldstores acquisition in 2016; today it said that went smoothly and that it had been pleased with sales growth since then. “During the peak pre-Christmas season we hosted significantly more customers on the website than the capacity on the previous system would have permitted,” it said.
By the end of the half-year it had 171 superstores, following one December opening at Cribbs Causeway, near Bristol, and it expects to open three more in the second half of this year. During the the year it also plans to add more than 6,0000 new online-only products, including a new mindful home range, to an online range of about 55,000 products. It sells about 30,000 products in-store.
“The successful launch of our new digital platform during the quarter marked an exciting milestone for Dunelm,” he said. “The transition to a modern, flexible, cloud-native platform has already improved our customer experience and will allow us to step change our retail innovation capabilities going forward. Our customers have responded well to the new website during Christmas and Winter Sale trading.
"Our ambitious growth plans are centred on extending and enhancing our customer proposition, helping more customers than ever create a home that they love. We are excited by the significant opportunities ahead of us.”
Image courtesy of Dunelm