Despite the majority of its estate being closed to customers, Dunelm generated total sales of £236.6m across Q3 (ended 27th March 2021).
Digital sales more than trebled YoY, covering over 83% of the prior year's sales. Click & Collect services enabled Dunelm to cover approximately 35% of prior-year store sales.
"Whilst we are pleased with our performance during the quarter given the restricted trading conditions, we note that the homewares market has continued to remain strong," reads the retailer's statement. "As a result of our retail estate being closed, we have underperformed the market during the quarter, reflecting that other retailers selling homewares have been classified as 'essential' and have remained open."
The group ended the quarter with net cash of £40.2m and access to £175m of approved banking facilities, which remain unutilised. Its inventory balance was £193m.
Dunelm CEO Nick Wilkinson says: "In a quarter when we were largely unable to open our stores, it has been very encouraging to see the strength of our digital channels which have enabled us to cover over 83% of sales from the same period last year.
"We are now looking forward to reopening, with colleagues ready to welcome back customers through our doors. We have worked hard to rebuild inventory levels and our stores are well stocked across our extensive product range.
"The entire Dunelm team is excited to be able to offer our full proposition once again. With all stores soon to be fully open, combined with our ever-improving digital offering, we look forward to helping our customers to create a little more joy in their homes and gardens this summer."
Next week, Dunelm will open its newest store (in Newcastle-Under-Lyme) and its refurbished and extended store in Banbury. The Newcastle-Under-Lyme store will feature a Make & Mend department, to encourage product repair and re-use, as well as an extended home decorating offer.
Dunelm's 13 stores in Scotland opened on 5th April, and the retailer anticipates that the 156 stores in England and Wales will reopen on 12th April. It expects to offer Click & Collect services in Northern Ireland from 12th April, but is awaiting guidance as to when those stores can fully reopen.
Dunelm anticipates a strong consumer response to the lifting of the lockdown restrictions, and, assuming there are no further restrictions this this, expects to end the year modestly ahead of the more optimistic analyst expectations.