Dunelm's total sales were up +11.8% in Q2 (the 13 weeks ended 26th December 2020), reflecting the retailer's continued resilience despite it being classified as a 'non-essential retailer' and subject to store closures during the period's lockdowns.
Dunelm says consumer demand for homewares remained buoyant throughout the quarter, and when its entire system (including stores) was fully open, it performed significantly ahead of the market.
Dunelm's online home delivery business more than doubled since the same period YoY, while Click & Collect remained popular with customers, equating to an average of 30% of prior year comparable store sales during periods of closure. In all, digital sales (including home delivery, Click & Collect and tablet-based selling in-store) made up 40% of Dunelm's total sales during the period.
Currently, all 174 stores are closed to customers, with all but five still able to operate a Covid-secure and contactless Click & Collect service. Home delivery services continue to operate as normal.
As previously announced, Dunelm's board decided to repay the £14.5m Job Retention Scheme (JRS) monies claimed in the prior financial year, and has introduced a company-funded furlough equivalent scheme to protect its most vulnerable staff and those not working due to the current restrictions.
Dunelm says that while the supply of goods from Asia has been disrupted by port operations and global container shortages, typical delays are now just 2-3 weeks, and the retailer expects to rebuild stock levels during H2.
CEO Nick Wilkinson says: "Our strong performance continued into the second quarter, whilst we adapted to the various restrictions and resulting store closures across our estate. I am immensely grateful for the engagement and resilience of the Dunelm team who, along with our suppliers, have demonstrated their outstanding commitment to our core value of being 'Stronger Together'.
"We enter 2021 with further restrictions and our primary focus remains the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers across the business.
"Beyond this near-term uncertainty, we've never felt more confident about the future. Our scalable proposition combines an in-store and digital offer which, with agile technology, we will continue to develop at pace. As our homes play an increasingly important role for all of us, we are well placed to build even closer relationships with our customers and extend our market leadership."