- Homewares retailer Dunelm said first-quarter performance 'significantly' exceeded its expectations thanks to an uptick in gross margins and sales.

For the 13-week period ended 26 September 2020, total sales were £359.1m, an increase of 36.7% year over year.

'We announced at the start of September that trading in the first two months of the financial year had been materially ahead of our initial expectations,' the company said.

Gross margin increased by 100 basis points compared with the prior-year period, drive by a 'lower proportion of discounted sales, reflecting strong demand, as well as sourcing improvements,' it added.

For the full year, the company expected gross margin to be slightly positive year over year, barring any material further impacts as a result of Covid-19 related disruption or restrictions.

'The homewares market continues to be resilient and we are materially outperforming the market. Trading in the first quarter was significantly ahead of our expectations and current trading remains very robust,' Dunelm said.

'However, given the significant uncertainty relating to further Covid-19 restrictions and the implications for the economic outlook, at this early point in the financial year, the range of potential outcomes for FY21 is unusually wide and we are therefore unable to provide any meaningful guidance,' it added.

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