Dunelm today spoke of growing online sales and falling in-store sales as a result of "disappointing" footfall in the late spring and early summer, including during its summer sale, as it gave an end-of-year trading update to investors.
It said that while underlying profitability had been higher than last year, its failure to clear merchandise in the summer sale meant that it now needed to write-off £3m against that stock. But while visitors to its shops were down, its online audience grew by 18% over the year. And, it added: "Despite the footfall challenge of the final quarter, the total number of visits to physical stores in the year (including the benefit of new openings) increased by 5% over the prior year," it said in today’s statement. "Pleasingly, we have seen strong performance in satisfaction scores across all channels."
The homewares retailer, ranked Leading in IRUK Top500 research, today said that while like-for-like (LFL) online sales of £30m in the 13 weeks to June 30 were 41.8% ahead of the same time last year, and full-year LFL online sales of £105.4m were 37.9% ahead, the figures were very different for in-store sales. LFL store sales of £179m in the fourth quarter were down by 4.6% on last time, while full-year store sales of £805m were 1% ahead. Total Dunelm sales came in at £236.5m (-0.4%) in the fourth quarter, and £1.05bn in the full year, +9.9% ahead of last time. Dunelm said it expected full-year profits to be down on last year, at about £102m from £109.3m in 2017.
"I am delighted to have joined Dunelm as it gathers pace on the journey to becoming a truly multi-channel business," said incoming chief executive Nick Wilkinson. "I firmly believe that our homewares authority, combined with our increasing ability to adapt to evolving consumer trends, means there is very significant potential for growth of the Dunelm brand. We have expanded our customer reach and digital capabilities significantly over the last 12 months and will continue to do so as we exploit the technology assets which we acquired with Worldstores."
Dunelm is transferring product lines to Dunelm.com from the Worldstores and Kiddicare businesses that it bought out of prepack administration at the end of 2016. Dunelm said that while its sales figures had benefited from a strong store opening programme early on the financial year, "this was offset by decisions to rationalise the offer in our acquired businesses of Worldstores.co.uk and Kiddicare.com - having divested Achica.com during the previous quarter." The retailer said it had tested Kiddicare as an online and in-store brand and had concluded that its businesses could be developed most profitably rebranded to Dunelm. The Kiddicare website says today that the retailer is to move to the Dunelm.com website from July 26, and in today’s statement, Dunelm said the dedicated website would be retired during the course of the 2019 financial year.
Now it is completing its development of the Worldstores technology platform before moving Dunelm.com, complete with around 20,000 product lines transferred from Worldstores and Kiddicare, to the platform over the course of its 2019 financial year.
Image courtesy of Dunelm