Dunelm sees annual profit slightly ahead of estimates on pent-up demand

A view shows a Dunelm store in St Albans
A view shows a Dunelm store in St Albans, Britain October 15, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra/File Photo

July 21 (Reuters) - British home furnishing retailer Dunelm Group (DNLM.L) said on Thursday it expected its annual profit to be slightly ahead of market estimates, betting on pent-up demand at its stores and a shift to online shopping.

The company appointed Alison Brittain, who is retiring as the chief executive of Premier Inn-owner Whitbread (WTB.L) at the end of fiscal 2023, as its chair designate and non-executive director.

Dunelm, which started selling ready-made curtains more than four decades ago and went on to become one of the UK's largest homeware stores, is seeing a pick-up in business as Britons rush to its stores to ready their homes and gardens for summer.

Pretax profit is expected come in slightly ahead of analysts' average expectations of 207 million pounds ($248.26 million), the group said.

However, total sales fell 6% to 358 million pounds in the fourth quarter ended June 25, signalling surging inflation that has caused an acute cost of living crisis in Britain has caught up with the firm.

"The macro outlook remains uncertain and we cannot predict exactly how consumers will respond to the increasing pressures on their finances," Chief Executive Officer Nick Wilkinson said, adding that the company was not immune to the inflationary pressures on consumers.

($1 = 0.8338 pounds)

Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Subhranshu Sahu

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