(Adds analysts' comments, share movement)
Oct 2 Homewares retailer Dunelm Group Plc
reported a 5 percent fall in first-quarter
like-for-like sales as fewer people visited its stores during
one of Britain's hottest summers.
The company, which sells bedding, curtains, furniture and
home utility items, said there was a significant decline in
like-for-like sales in the first four weeks from June 30.
Total sales rose 1.7 percent to 154.3 million pounds
($250.02 million) in the quarter ended Sept. 28.
Shares in the company fell as much as 5 percent in early
trade, but recovered some of their losses to trade down 3.8
percent at 890 pence at 0837 GMT. The stock was one of the top
percentage losers on the FTSE-250 Midcap Index.
Peel Hunt analyst John Stevenson said the like-for-like
sales decline was worse than anticipated, but was partially
offset by higher gross margins.
Gross margin for the period rose about 70 basis points from
a year earlier.
"If the shares react badly to today's update, we see this as
a clear buying opportunity for this well managed, high growth
and cash generative retailer," Stevenson wrote in a note to
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Freddie George reiterated his
"buy" recommendation on the stock saying he expects sales to
recover in the second quarter.
($1 = 0.6172 British pounds)
(Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya