Half-year pre-tax profit at specialist homewares retailer Dunelm rose 14.6% to £59.8m, the company said today.

Dunelm posts big rise in pre-tax profit

Half-year pre-tax profit at specialist homewares retailer Dunelm rose 14.6% to £59.8m, the company said today.

Dunelm posts big rise in pre-tax profit

Interim results for the 26 weeks to December 29 2012 also show that operating profit saw growth of 14.5% to £59.3m, and gains continued in gross margin, up 30 basis points to 49.5%. The retailer achieved a 2.2% lift in like-for-like sales over the same period last year, while total revenues were up 13.4% to £340.1m, boosted by the opening of 10 new superstores.

The company said that during the period it had “continued to outperform the overall homewares market”.

A key focus for Dunelm is its drive to allow staff to spend more time with customers in an effort to build loyalty and customer referrals, and it says it is investing in systems that will free up staff time without increasing costs. The stores’ mystery shopper programme has shown that the initiative is getting results, delivering improved customer service.

Dunelm continues to grow its advertising spend and social media activity and to invest in other marketing activities, the most significant of which within the half-year period was the launch of its first major homewares catalogue. This will be followed up with a spring catalogue this month.

The company says it continually develops its ranges to maintain a fresh offer and to further expand its presence in the £11bn homewares market. Around a quarter of its ranged lines are less than 12 months old at any given time.

Dunelm now has 123 superstores and nine high street shops, with six more in the pipeline. Paybacks average around 30 months for stores opened during the last three financial years. Multi-channel business now represents 4% of revenues.

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