THE miserable spring weather generated an £8m sales boost at homeware retailer Dunelm by prompting customers to spruce up their homes.
The group, which has more than 124 Dunelm Mill stores selling kitchenware, bedding and rugs, said like-for-like sales rose 10.4% in the 13 weeks to June 30 as it benefited from the wettest April and June on record.
As a result of its “exceptionally strong” sales growth, Dunelm said pre-tax profits for the year to the end of June will be ahead of City expectations, at around £96m, up from £83.6m the previous year.
Dunelm, which started life as a Leicester curtain stall in 1979, said the poor weather in the first half of 2012 had added about £2.5m to its profits.
Chief executive Nick Wharton said the company’s focus on value had helped it gain share of the homeware market, which has been badly hit since the recession as shoppers cut back on non-essential items.
Total sales grew 21.2% to £149.7m in its final quarter, helped by opening 12 stores over its financial year, with the most recent at Greenford in London.
The group has plans to open at least nine more and said there is scope for 200 stores in the UK.
Mark Photiades, an analyst at Singer Capital Markets, said: “The store pipeline continues to build and we continue to see significant headroom for UK expansion going forward which is the key differentiator between Dunelm and many of its retail peers.”