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Dunelm like-for-like sales fall on spending squeeze

British homewares retailer Dunelm said year-to-date sales at its stores open at least for a year fell 2 percent after shoppers tightened their purse strings amid a tough economy.

The group, which runs more than 100 mostly out-of-town stores selling items such as kitchenware, lighting, bedding and rugs, said total sales for the 13 weeks to Oct. 1 rose to 133.4 million pounds from 126.7 million pounds a year ago.

However, sales growth slowed to 5.3 percent from nearly 12 percent a year ago.

Britain's retailers are facing a slate of challenges this autumn that will scupper some of them before they can reach the safe harbour of the Christmas trading period.

"Nevertheless, we remain confident about the growth opportunities provided both from store expansion and via the web," the company said in a statement.

Last month, the company reported a 9 percent increase in full-year pretax profit and raised its dividend 60 percent despite a tough retail environment.

Dunelm shares, which have gained nearly 23 percent of their value over the last three months, closed at 483 pence on Tuesday on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the firm at nearly 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion).

Key figures:
-13-week sales 133.4 mln stg vs 126.7 mln
- Like-for-like sales down 2 pct

Source : Tresa Sherin Morera – Reuters

05 October 2011
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