Rise in sales at Dunelm

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HOMEWARES chain Dunelm - which operates a store in Coleraine - forecast more profits growth last week after seeing sales continue to outperform the homewares market.

The group’s like-for-like sales were up 1.6 per cent in the quarter to December 29, helped by demand for its “Teddy Bear” textile range of blankets, cushions, rugs and mattress covers, which it launched in 2008.

And with its “New Lower Prices” campaign failing to derail margins, chief executive Nick Wharton said the company’s 123 stores were on track for half-year profits of up to £60 million, a rise of 15 per cent on a year ago.

Dunelm, which started life as a Leicester curtain stall in 1979, currently generates four per cent of its revenues from online sales, up from 2.5 per cent a year earlier, and sees an opportunity to expand this further.

There are also plans to have 200 stores in the medium term, with four more outlets set to open in the second half of the current financial year.

Last week’s update showed a 13.4 per cent rise in total revenues to £340.1 million for the six months to December 29, after the group opened eight new superstores in the period.