Furniture and homewares retailer Dunelm has identified a number of key trends emerging since the outbreak of the pandemic that relate to the way shoppers shop.
Outlining its findings in its interim results announcement, which saw the group grow sales by 23% to £719.4m and profit by 34.4% to £112.4m, Dunelm said the pandemic has “accelerated the pace of change” in consumer habits.
“The events of the last year have created more ‘home lovers’ and new needs for existing ones as the home continues to play an even more important role in all of our lives, fulfilling more functions than ever before. Additionally, we see that the impact of social distancing restrictions has turbo-charged the adoption of digital sales and fulfilment channels for both existing and new customers,” Nick Wilkinson, Chief Executive Officer said.
Continuing: “Another trend we have observed is the relative strength of footfall to out-of-town retail parks when compared to the high street. Most of our stores, and all of our in-store cafes, are out of town and sufficiently spacious to have enabled us to provide a safe shopping environment for all our colleagues and customers.
“We are also seeing increased engagement with our friendly digital content, growing interest in sustainability, and more support for local activities and community connections.
“We continue to respond to these changing habits and we are experiencing an intense period of innovation, capability building and learning across all areas of our business.”
One such innovation is the continued growth of its product offer and authority.
“We offered more newness and choice in core ranges, for example more products made from recycled materials, including cushions, bedding and bathroom textiles, as well as home hygiene and wellbeing collections,” Nick added.
Looking ahead, Dunelm also revealed it plans to help our customers ‘live well’ from home by introducing new desks and chairs, dinnerware and storage.
Nick said: “We will build further scale into our furniture offer through the development of our sourcing capabilities, fulfilment capacity and improvements to the in-store selling experience. We will grow our presence in adjacent categories including home decorating, outdoor living and ‘make and mend’ crafting.”
Another key initiative Dunelm is working on is its home delivery experience. The business plans to shorten delivery lead times, including an assessment of ‘store to door’ pilots, as well as providing better order tracking via a ‘new carrier management micro-service’.