Dunelm hit by lockdown, but boosted by online growth

Dunelm hit by lockdown, but boosted by online growth

Dunelm saw a big jump in sales last month as the nationwide lockdown eased – thanks to a significant rise in online shopping.

The homewares chain said its June sales were 20 per cent on the same month in 2019, following significant drops in April and May.

The chain shut its online operation and stores when the lockdown began almost four months ago,

Since then the Leicestershire-headquartered business has been able to reopen all 173 stores, while its website went through a phased reopening from early in the lockdown.

In all the business has claimed £14.5 million under the Government furlough scheme while social distancing measures in its stores and warehouses are estimated to be costing the business £150,000 a week.

It plans to reopen its 148 in-store Pausa cafés by the end of the month.

Total Dunelm year-on-year sales dropped almost 80 per cent in April and almost a half in May, and could have been worse without decent online sales.

Overall sales were down almost a third over the last three months.

Despite the lockdown the business said today that total revenues for the past 12 months were £1.06 billion, down just 4 per cent on 2019.

In-store sales for the full year were down an eighth while online was up 50 per cent.

Dunelm chief executive Nick Wilkinson said: “We are incredibly proud of how our team and committed supplier partners have responded during the pandemic and of what we have achieved together.

“Our colleagues have demonstrated exceptional commitment, agility and resilience to adapt our proposition and operations and I would personally like to thank them all.

“The decisions we have made over the last few months have been guided by our principles and values and we are emerging from this unprecedented period as a stronger business.

“This has given us the confidence to accelerate our digital transition and introduce new ways of serving our customers.

“There is lots more to do and we are energised to evolve our customer proposition and operations at pace, as we continue to navigate an uncertain external environment.”

In a trading update the business said it was able to partially offset the closures by:

– Pausing overseas stock orders and asking UK suppliers to stop replenishing stores

– Board members and the executive taking a voluntary three month pay cut

– Cancelling the interim dividend

– Claiming £14.5 million under the Government furlough scheme – with most workers who were off now back at work

– Introducing new services such as virtual made-to-measure consultations

– Hitting record delivery figures

– Helping key suppliers manage a four-fold rise in “direct to customer” deliveries

The business, which famously started out selling ready-made curtains on Leicester market in 1979, is the market leader in the £13 billion UK homewares market and a big player in the £11 billion UK furniture market. Most of its stores are now based on out-of-town retail parks and the business employs around 10,000 people.

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