The Business On... Nick Wharton, chief executive, Dunelm

He must be a man underpressure just now

So you would think – retailers everywhere are struggling, and as a business that specialises in soft furnishings, the sort of merchandise people tend to buy when moving home, Dunelm ought to be struggling in the face of the stagnant housing market too.

How bad is it?

Yesterday's trading update suggests it's not. Sales are rising very nicely thank you, partly because of new store openings, but also with organic growth. Margin pressures have been kept under control too.

So how has Mr Wharton managed that?

The out-of-town store approach seems to have kept costs down, enabling Dunelm to offer good value, and it's stepped up its online sales too. Plus they've been careful about expanding too quickly.

Mr Wharton is going to be in demand if he keeps it up

Probably – and the 44-year-old has always admitted to being ambitious. But he's only been chief executive for a few months, so he can't claim all the credit for Dunelm's recent run of success.

How did he get the job?

He's been a non-executive director since 2009, so he knew the business well – when Will Adderley decided he wanted to step down as chief executive last year, Mr Wharton was the obvious man to turn to. Mr Adderley, by the way, is the son of Bill and Jean Adderley, who founded the company as a market stall in Leicester in 1979. Mr Wharton is the first non-family member to run the company.

What else has he done?

Before Dunelm, he was group finance director at Halfords – another business that started life in Leicester, by the way – where he learnt just how difficult it can be to work in retail when household incomes are under pressure.

And how does he cope with all the stress?

A die-hard West Bromwich Albion fan, he's used to enduring some anxious times.

ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why