NEWS Dunelm sees strong growth in store and online Homeware giant Dunelm

Group plc has announced its preliminary results to June 29 2019. The brand’s total like-for- like (LFL) sales increased by 10.7% with strong growth both in stores (7.7%) and dunelm. com (35.1%). Dunelm’s

supposed current

aim is to focus on improved customer proposition, offering more choice, style and value. It has continued growing in terms of brand awareness, helping to drive an 8.5 per cent increase in unique active customers. The group’s profit-before-tax stood at £125.9m - up 23.4%.

Comparing this to FY18’s figure has reflected better sales. Furthermore,

free cash flow

came in at £154.4m. In 2018, this stood at £101.5m. Nick Wilkinson, Dunelm’s chief officer,

executive concluded

with his thoughts: “As Dunelm celebrates its 40th anniversary, we are pleased to have delivered a strong performance during the year, with an improvement across all our customer, operating and financial metrics. “In particular, the strong like-

for-like revenue growth, both in stores and online, demonstrates the progress we are making with

The Range set to open new store in Derbyshire

Value retailer The Range has announced it is to open another store in Derbyshire later this year.

The firm, which sells products for the home, leisure and gardens, has confirmed it will open a new superstore at Somercotes. The building of the new branch, in Nottingham Road, Somercotes, is currently underway, with the store’s grand opening scheduled for Friday,

November 15. It will create 80 full and part- time jobs, from store department managers and


our multichannel proposition whilst maintaining the breadth and

depth of our specialist

customer offer in homewares.” He added: “Recent trading performance has continued to be strong, reflecting both weak comparatives in the prior year and continued growth.

market share

“Looking to the future, I am excited about the opportunity to grow our business as we enhance and extend our specialist and multichannel offer, build on our market leading position and fulfil our purpose of helping everyone create a home they love.”

assistants, to retail administrators. Once open, the new store will stock more than 80,000 products, including the complete Iceland Foods offering, in addition to The Range’s home, garden and leisure selection. It will also have a family cafe and a large outdoor garden centre. While the UK retail sector is struggling, The Range is one of the companies that appears to be defying the gloom. It is continuing to open new branches across the county and today has more than 170 stores in the UK and Ireland.

The news comes after the home, leisure and garden retailer has

announced a summer

opening for its new head office in Plymouth, which looks set to create up to 450 new jobs. The new store is already open and has been “very well received by customers who have enjoyed seeing the transformation of the site”, said The Range. The Range’s head office is

currently located in Estover and houses 250 employees but the business has grown rapidly and the current site is no longer big enough to house operations. The new headquarters will hold up to 700 staff, creating 450 new jobs over a wide range of departments across its buying, e-commerce, IT, marketing and accounts departments.

Garden centres see growth in plant sales in July

The strong year for garden centre sales across the country continued in July, with year to date comparisons up on last year for all of the product categories reported in the HTA market update. Despite the more unsettled weather this July, garden centre sales continued to experience significant growth and are up by 17% on 2018 for July, and up by 11% on the calendar year from January to July comparisons. HTA director of Membership Martin Simmons commented:

“Both indoor and outdoor plants lead healthy July garden centre performance and a continued strong year for garden centre sales in 2019. Houseplant sales have seen exceptional growth – up by 45% compared to July 2018, Hardy plants sales were up by 25%. Non-garden categories like gifting and pets, also performed well in July.” Weather

reports show that

July 2019 was considerably wetter and not as sunny as July of last year across most of the UK, despite being the eighth warmest July on record. Rainfall

was extremely variable across the country with below-average rainfall over most of Wales and the south-west, but more than twice the normal amount in the North and Midlands.

The overall consumer

Businesses come together to urge business rates inquiry results

The British Independent Retailers Assocation (BIRA) has joined forces with a number of bodies, including the BRC and Association of Convenience Stores,

of its inquiry into business rates. With several to

urge the Treasury Select Committee to release the findings

of the MPs involved in the inquiry moving into roles within Government, the inquiry has been held up and there has been no indication of when the report will be released or who will now chair the committee. A brief excerpt from the letter shows it said:

“With high streets and town

centres facing enormous challenges, and business looking to Government for support at a

time when concerns over

the UK’s departure from the European Union are hindering investment and confidence, we believe that it could not be a more important time for the

confidence index score increased two points to -11 in July, one point lower than July of last year. Concerns over the UK’s economic situation remain; but consumers financial situations and making purchases are improving.

Committee to publish its views on the operation of the business rates system…” Andrew Goodacre, CEO of BIRA said: “Independent retailers continue to tell me that business rates are causing real concerns for them. Our members have told the Treasury Select Committee directly that reform is needed and it would be very disappointing if the opportunity for real change was missed. The report must be published with clear recommendations for reform, and soon.”

Travis Perkins wins gold Ministry of Defence award

UK building material supplier, Travis Perkins plc, has been recognised for its work supporting the Armed Forces with a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold award following the recruitment of over 600 service leavers across the Group since 2015.

The gold accolade is a

recognition by the Ministry of Defence for companies that demonstrate exceptional effort to support, recruit and develop armed forces personnel and their families, and is being awarded to Travis Perkins for their ongoing commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community. CEO for Travis Perkins,

Nick Roberts, commented on the accolade: “The key to our success has always been our people. But we will only be more successful as a business if we reflect the communities we serve and tap into talent from a variety of sources, encouraging and creating a diverse environment where everyone

can be themselves

and not feel disadvantaged or excluded in any way. Welcoming service leavers to ensure they have a successful transition to civil life is part of that.”


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