Dunelm has reported a record performance across the 26 weeks ended 25th December 2021, with sales up +10.6% YoY, and +36.0% Yo2Y.

Sales growth was broad based, but Dunelm was particularly pleased with the performance of its furniture categories, due to better availability and range extensions.

The retailer continues to outperform the market in both homewares and furniture. H1 saw Dunelm further expanded and innovate its product offer, including approximately 250 extensions to ranges in furniture, both across living and dining.

It now boasts some 13 million active customers, achieving a +6.3% increase in just 12 months.

Due to higher full-price sell through of seasonal lines, with the prior year margin impacted by store lockdowns, gross marginw as up +80bps YoY, and PBT achieved in H1 was a record £140.8m, +25.3% YoY. Dunelm says the profit margin reflects "a particularly strong stores performance and leverage of fixed costs". The retailer ended the period with net cash of £47.7m.

The period saw continued investment in digital capabilities to improve the customer proposition, and the opening of a new ecommerce fulfilment facility in Stoke. It also progressed the development of its new furniture hub in Daventry, which it expects to be fully operational in March, providing added ability to scale furniture growth.

Dunelm opened one new store in Beverley, East Yorkshire, and completed five major refits across its estate.

CEO Nick Wilkinson comments: "I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all my colleagues and our committed supplier partners for their adaptability and achievements and for living our Dunelm shared values every day. Together we have navigated another period filled with significant and evolving external challenges and delivered a very strong performance in the first half, with continued growth in customer numbers, further market share gains, record sales and particularly strong profitability.

"When we announced our interim results in 2020, we were weeks away from the world being turned upside down. Two years later, we are moving forwards as a bigger, better business, with more capability, more resilience, more ambition, and delivering accelerated growth.

"We have not only worked hard and innovated to enhance our customers' experience across all channels and categories, but have also continued to develop our customer proposition and capabilities at pace to support our future growth. Our product range is now broader and better than ever, with an increasing focus on sustainability, as demonstrated in our new collection which has been curated in collaboration with the Natural History Museum.

"We look to the future excited, energised and eager to continue being our customers' first choice for home."

Trading to date in the second half, including the winter sale, has continued to be "encouraging", says Dunelm, which expects that FY22 PBT will be in line with recently upgraded expectations.