Dunelm saw LFL sales increase +5% in Q2 (to 28th December 2019), reflecting strong growth online (+32.1%) and in-store (+1.2%) against strong YoY comparatives (+10.8% in Q2 2018). Total growth – including that derived from new stores – was +6.2%. 

Total LFL sales for H1 increased by +5.6%, with total growth of +6%.

Gross margin improved, thanks to sourcing gains and lower product markdowns – Dunelm did not participate in Black Friday or additional pre-Christmas discounting. 

Dunelm successfully transitioned to its new proprietary digital platform during the quarter, and enjoyed asmooth transition plus growth since launch. During the peak pre-Christmas season, the retailer says it hosted significantly more customers on the website than the previous system would have permitted. The retailer remains on track to add over 6000 new online-only products this year.

It opened a new store at Bristol Cribbs Causeway in December, taking the store portfolio to 171. The retailer expects to open three new stores (including two relocations) in H2.

Nick Wilkinson, Dunelm's CEO, says: "We are really pleased with our performance in the first half, building on the strong growth and profitability delivered last year. The second quarter was particularly strong in terms of sales and margin growth, on both one-year and two-year bases."

Furniture sales increased by +42%.

Senior market analyst Nigel Frith comments: "Dunelm has had a stellar year in which it hasn’t put a foot wrong. The homeware retailer has managed to sidestep broad weakness in the sector over the Christmas period by avoiding heavy discounting as customers flocked to its new website. Online sales surged +32.1% in a clear sign that customers are responding well to the increasingly important online platform."

The retailer also announced a new sponsorship arrangement with Channel 4's First Dates, which will run until the end of the year.