LONDON, July 4 (Reuters) - British homeware retailer Dunelm Group said it would hit full-year profit expectations as the opening of new stores helped to pull in more cash-strapped shoppers taking advantage of value lines.
The company, which has 135 mainly out-of-town stores across the UK selling items such as bedding, curtains and kitchenware, said on Thursday it expected pretax profit for the year to June 29 to be 108 million pounds ($164.79 million), in line with market expectations.
Like-for-like sales declined 2.8 percent in its fourth quarter however, against a tough comparable period last year in which very wet weather helped drive customers to its stores.
Annual underlying sales grew 1.7 percent with total revenue up 12 percent to 677.2 million pounds, boosted by new stores.
Gross margin improved by 40 basis points for the year.
The group opened one new superstore in the quarter, taking its total to 126. The firm is targeting 200 superstores in the medium term to give it national coverage and is expanding its multi-channel offering with a new warehouse for online orders to open in October.
Shares in the family-run business, which have risen 92 percent on a year ago, closed at 948.5 pence on Wednesday, valuing the company at 1.9 billion pounds.