Dunelm experienced like-for-like sales growth of +8.9% for the 13 weeks to 27th September 2014, according to the retailer's latest financial report.

This was compared to the -5.3% experienced in the same period in 2013.

"Trading was strong during the quarter, with like-for-like growth reflecting the relatively weak performance during the comparable quarter last year when footfall was subdued by unusually warm weather," reads the report.

"As anticipated, gross margin has continued to increase year on year, with an estimated 40 basis points rise compared with the equivalent quarter last year."

Dunelm's store portfolio now comprises 137, including one store opened in the quarter. A total of 11 further openings are under contract, says Dunelm, including one relocation, and all of these are expected to commence trading in the current financial year (dated from 29th June).

Will Adderley, chief executive, comments: "Our sales performance has been strong in the first quarter, driven partly by soft comparatives from last year but also by the strength of the Dunelm offer and an increasing awareness of that offer across the UK.

"As we look forward, our focus is very much on driving sales. We intend to capitalise on the significant investments we have made, and continue to make, across our business to underpin long term growth – and we intend to keep on delivering excellent value and service to our customers. Despite the inevitable short-term impact of those investments, I am confident that we can continue to deliver significant profitable growth over the years to come."