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UK homeware retailer Dunelm sales rise on holiday season demand

FILE PHOTO: A view shows a logo of a Dunelm store in St Albans

(Reuters) -British homeware retailer Dunelm Group posted higher second-quarter sales and forecast annual profit to beat market expectations, as customers stocked up on discounted beddings, heaters and home furniture during the Christmas holidays.

A tough British winter and rising energy bills amid a cost of living crisis in the country has left shoppers opting for essential items such as duvets, heaters and thermal curtains.

"Customers have enjoyed shopping our 'Winter Warm' ranges as they find innovative ways to manage rising heating costs," Chief Executive Officer Nick Wilkinson said in a trading statement on Thursday.

British retailers, who witnessed higher sales with customers spending freely and enjoying their first holiday season free of COVID-19 worries in three years, warned that most retailers will tighten their belts in 2023.

UK electricals retailer, Currys said Britons spent big on energy efficient appliances in the Christmas trading period but avoided computers and televisions.

Dunelm, which sells furnishings ranging from cushions and bedding to kitchen equipment, said total sales were up 18% for the 13 weeks ended on Dec. 31 at 478 million pounds ($589.28 million) from a year ago.

Analysts on average expect full-year 2023 profit before tax to be about 178 million pounds, according to a company compiled consensus.

($1 = 0.8112 pounds)

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)