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10 Feb 2021 | 07:02

Dunelm reinstates dividend as online sales drive first-half profit rise

(Sharecast News) - Homewares retailer Dunelm resumed dividend payments and reported a rise in first-half profits driven by higher online sales as tougher Covid-19 lockdown restrictions closed its stores. Pre-tax profits in the 26 weeks to December 26 rose 34.4% to £112.4m and a 12p-a-share dividend was declared. Digital sales grew 111% while total sales were up 23% to £719.4m.

Dunelm was making a "modest" weekly loss in the current quarter, covering around 70% of prior year sales through home delivery and click & collect services, said chief executive Nick Wilkinson, but pulled full-year guidance given uncertainty on when Covid-19-related restrictions will be lifted.

"All but one of our stores are currently closed to customers and we do not have clarity on when they will re-open. However, we continue to offer contactless click & collect and home delivery services and are confident that the business will return to growth once we are allowed to re-open our stores," he said.

"Customers have become more comfortable with shopping for homewares and furniture online, and the recent investments we have made in our digital capabilities and capacity have enabled us to scale up rapidly to service this demand. Online traffic grew by 95% and we saw a strong improvement in customer conversion, for both home delivery and click & collect."
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