Dunelm fails to find a woman director

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The Independent Online

The furniture and soft furnishings retailer Dunelm has appointed another man to the boardroom despite asking its headhunters to prioritise finding suitably qualified women.

In an unusual move, the company, which has had only one woman on its board since 2004, issued a statement explaining that the shortlist for the job contained equal numbers of men and women, but it said Matt Davies, the outgoing chief executive of Pets at Home, was "clearly the best candidate" and was chosen.

Dunelm's comments raise questions about the quandary faced by companies in meeting Lord Davies' recommendation last year that FTSE 100 companies should aim to have a minimum of 25 per cent female board-member representation by 2015.

The out-of-town chain has posted a leap in half-year pre-tax profits.

Dunelm grew pre-tax profits by 7.8 per cent to £52.2m over the 26 weeks to 31 December, driven by a rise in underlying sales and margins. Like-for-like sales rose 1.1 per cent and total sales grew by 8.8 per cent to £299.9m.