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Multichannel helps fuel growth at Dunelm and Lush

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Dunelm and Lush both evidenced multichannel growth as they reported their latest figures.

Homewares retailer Dunelm said sales in the half-year to December 28 came in at £356.3m, 4.8% up on the same time last year. Multichannel sales have grown and accounted for 6% of total revenues in the latest quarter of its year. That represents growth since the retailer reported multichannel sales accounted for 4% of total sales in the year to June 29 and 4.5% in the final quarter of that year. The company said multichannel progress had been supported by the move to a new, larger, fulfillment centre in October that gives it room to expand.

But overall growth at the retailer has come from expansion: the company currently has 131 stores, and expects to have opened 10 new superstores by the end of its current financial year, taking the total to 135. It aims to have 200 stores in the medium-term. But like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, fell by 0.9% in the half-year.

Nick Wharton, chief executive, said the company had traded “robustly” on a platform of ‘every day low prices’.

“With a strengthening customer proposition, increasing brand awareness, a significant new store growth opportunity and an exciting multichannel agenda in place, the board remains confident in the long-term growth prospects for the business,” he said. He forecast half-year profits of £61.5m.

Meanwhile, natural cosmetics business Lush said its sales were up by 13.4% to £20m in the five weeks to December 29, compared to the same time last year, with like-for-like growth of 12.2%. Internet sales, up by 27.7% on last time, led the way, while sales at its 106 UK stores were up by 12.2%. The company plans to launch a new UK website in March.

The update came as privately-owned Lush reported full-year turnover of ££362.9m in the year to June 30, 11.3% up on the previous year. Like-for-like sales grew by 3.7%, but profits of £21.9m were down by £4.3m, or 16.2%, following an almost 50% boost to charitable donations to £3.1m and investment in training and communications event Lushfest.

Kim Coles, Lush finance director, said: “It is great to be able to report such encouraging Christmas sales in the same week as filing our strong year end results and we remain optimistic about the future as we continue to grow the business globally with expansion plans including our first New York spa opening on January 8, our first Brazil shop opening in the next few months and a new UK website in March.”

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