Life has been increasingly difficult for homewares chain Dunelm, with declining sales, despite an increase in profits in its last published figures.
In the year to June 2008, the Adderley’s Dunelm retail chain reported pre-tax profits of £49.1 million, up from £41 million with like-for-like sales up 2.5 per cent.
But since then sales have declined in a challenging market. However Dunelm has remained positive, assuring people that it was committed to its store opening targets and planned to continue its expansion.
Part of that expansion is through acquisitions. Dunelm paid £5 million to acquire the Dorma beding brand. Despite a blip in trading, 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 5,500 people at its 88 stores, 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 is also developing its online business. Chief executive Will Adderley puts the family firm’s success down to high footfalls at its out-of-town locations, a strong and stable management team and the successful commissioning of a new central warehouse in Stoke.
Thirty-seven year-old chief executive Will Adderley has taken 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.