Will Adderley at homewares chain Dunelm Mill is continuously cautious, with warnings about difficult times to come. But despite a shaky start to 2009 the company has exceeded expectations.

In the year to June 2009, the Adderley’s Dunelm retail chain reported pre-tax profits of £53.5 million, up from £49.1 million with sales of £423.8 million – up 8.1 per cent.

But despite warnings of tougher times to come in a challenging market Dunelm has remained committed to its store opening targets and continues its expansion.

The company – with its slogan “Simple value for money” – has recently opened its 98th store, with new outlets in Norwich, Londonderry, Broadstairs and Bridgend among others.

Despite a difficult trading environment, the decision by Will Adderley and his parents Bill and Jean to float Dunelm for £400 million still seems a shrewd one.

Since flotation in October 2006, the Leicestershire-based company has expanded rapidly, enjoying a big demand for its soft furnishing products.

The enterprise, which trades under the Dunelm Mill brand, began life as a curtain stall run by Bill and Jean Adderley in a Leicester market. That was nearly 30 years ago. Now it employs around 6000 people and is growing by the month.

Bill and Jean Adderley opened their first Dunelm store in Churchgate, Leicester in 1984. Their first superstore opened in Rotherham in 1991.

Now Dunelm – headquartered in Syston – has stores in town centres and out-of-town locations from Aberdeen in the north to Plymouth in the south, with more planned this year and older stores being refurbished. The company also has a bespoke manufacturing operation and an online business.

Thirty-eight-year-old chief executive Will Adderley took over day to day control of the business from his father in 1996 and holds 12.5 per cent. His mother Jean netted £102 million from the sale of her 30 per cent stake in the company, retaining 7.5 per cent. Will’s father Bill retains his 50 per cent stake.

Will joined the business in 1993 after gaining a degree in industrial economics at Nottingham University. And it’s not just a share in a successful business for which Will has cause to thank his parents. He received a kidney from his mother in 2003.