Dunelm Profits Up 15%

LONDON -- Dunelm Group (ISE: DNLM.L) , the leading specialist out-of-town homewares retailer, announced preliminary end-of-year results showing a profit before tax of 96.2 million pounds, an increase of 15.1%. The Group, which owns the Dunelm Hill chain of stores, posted total revenues of 603.7 million pounds, up 12.1%, and an operating profit of 95.2 million pounds, a rise of 14.3%.

Dunlem, which competes with Home Retail Group for the homewares market, announced an earnings per share of 35.3 pence, up 18.9% on the previous year, and revealed a final dividend of 10.0 pence per share, resulting in a full-year dividend of 14.0 pence, an increase of 21.7%.

Year-end net cash was 65.2 million pounds against 35.1 million pounds last year despite opening 14 new superstores. With 127 stores already open and four units opened since the year-end plus another nine in the pipeline, the Group's steady expansion is set to continue for some time to come.

Nick Wharton, chief executive, commented:

Dunelm has delivered robust trading results in a demanding retail environment, with our strong focus on retailing excellence leading to increased market share on a like for like basis. We have also made good progress with our strategic development, scaling our business through new stores, multi-channel, and strengthened infrastructure, while continuing to improve our specialist customer proposition. I would like to thank all my colleagues for their hard work and commitment in achieving this.

Our financial position remains extremely strong which, together with the Board's confidence in Dunelm's future growth prospects, enables us to propose an increase in the dividend ahead of earnings, together with a return of excess capital equal to 32.5 pence per share.

Looking ahead, we remain cautious of the U.K. consumer environment and its impact on our trading in the near term. However, with a strong new store pipeline, good momentum in multi-channel and a "Simply Value for Money" proposition that continues to resonate with a wide range of customers, we remain confident in the future growth prospects for the business.

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