UPDATE 1-Dunelm posts strong sales from pent up demand during lockdown

(Adds details on outlook, background)

Sept 1 (Reuters) - British home furnishing retailer Dunelm said on Tuesday sales have been strong in the last two months and the company’s performance so far this year has been ahead of its initial expectations.

Dunelm’s total year-over-year sales growth jumped 59% in July, partly due to pent up demand following the store closures and the timing of its summer sale, and was up 24% in August.

Shares in the company were seen rising 5% according to premarket indicators.

Dunelm, which was founded in 1979 as a market stall business, said the performance reflected positive footfall in its mainly out-of-town superstores as well as growth in its home delivery service.

The company, however, said it was very difficult to provide any meaningful outlook due to uncertainty in the wider economy and the potential impact of further regional or national lockdowns.

The company’s recent strong sales are in line with rival DFS Furniture’s performance, which was helped by higher consumer spending on homes and latent demand caused by lockdowns among other factors.

Dunelm, which sells furnishings ranging from cushions and bedding to kitchen equipment, said last month it expects a fall of as much as 21 million pounds in annual pretax profit but added that it was seeing signs of recovery from returning customers. (Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)