Dunelm saw like-for-like sales dip in the first half of its current financial year, although they were significantly better in the latter weeks of the period.
The 26 weeks to December 28 2013 saw a 0.9% drop in LfL sales year-on-year at the homewares chain. But after a first quarter that was hit by the unusually warm weather, they grew by 2.9% in the second quarter, boosted by the company's second autumn catalogue and first television advertising campaign.
Total sales during the period grew 4.8% to £356.3m when compared to the same period the year before, when they were up 13.4%. The company said it had benefited from its continuing portfolio development programme which included six new store openings.
Gross margin for the half year is estimated to have improved by 100 basis points compared with the prior year, thanks in part to Dunelm's direct sourcing programme.
Dunelm now has 131 superstores, and in the most recent quarter multi-channel represented around 6% of the retailer's revenue. Pre-tax profit for the first half of the year is forecast to be in the region of £61.5m.