Dunelm is keen to expand into cheap vacant properties this year, even though the homewares retailer has suffered a slide in sales over the past six months.

The company achieved sales of £201.8m in the 26 weeks to December 27, 5.6% lower – after stripping out the effect of new stores – than the same period last year.

However, Dunelm’s confidence has been bolstered by a 100 basis point increase in its gross margin, achieved by increasing its own-sourced products as well as refusing to join the high street’s pre-Christmas discounting frenzy.

Financial Times