Dunelm's profit jumps as CEO moves aside after 15 years

The chief executive of the homewares chain Dunelm has announced plans to give up day-to-day running of the company his parents started from a market stall in 1979.

Will Adderley will remain on the board of Dunelm to work on specific aspects of the business after his 15-year spell as chief executive helped grow the company's annual revenues to almost £500m.

The move, which will take place in February, was announced as Dunelm reported a 46 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £76.8m in the year to 3 July. Sales at stores open for more than one year rose by 8 per cent.

Mr Adderley said the out-of-town chain continued to grow its share of the homewares market after it opened more stores and benefited from its position as a value-for-money retailer. "Whilst we are clearly operating in challenging economic conditions, and we expect to see continuing pressure on consumer spending, performance in the early weeks of our new financial year has been pleasing," Mr Adderley said.

He will hand over as chief executive to Nick Wharton, who is currently finance director of Halfords and has been a Dunelm director since August 2009.

Mr Adderley, who owns 35 per cent of the company, said his family remained "totally committed, both emotionally and financially" to Dunelm for the long term. His parents Bill and Jean still have a 24 per cent holding.

From a Leicester curtain stall in 1979, the family has turned the business into the third largest in the £12bn UK homewares market with 106 stores. It joined the London stock market in 2006 and reaped a major windfall for the Adderleys when they sold a 31 per cent stake in the £340m flotation. The company's market value is currently £767m.

Mr Adderley said the new role as executive deputy chairman would allow him to spend more time on the areas "where I believe that I can add the most value". He added that recent store openings were trading well and that Dunelm was committed to opening nine more stores in the current financial year as it looks to build a UK-wide portfolio of 200 outlets.

It has also extended the range of products sold under the Dorma brand to include bathroom, gift and tableware lines, while it has created an extended furniture department in several of its larger stores.

Mark Photiades, an analyst at Singer Capital Markets, described Mr Wharton as a high-calibre appointment as chief executive and said Dunelm was in good shape. He added: "We continue to believe that the business is of high quality and with significant headroom for growth."

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