February 13, 2019 / 7:44 AM / 2 days ago

Homewares retailer Dunelm stocks up to brace for Brexit

(Reuters) - Homewares retailer Dunelm Group Plc on Wednesday became the latest British company to say that it was stockpiling some of its best-selling products to beat potential supply disruptions arising from Brexit.

The retailer, which sells cushions, bedding and kitchen equipment, also said 2.5 percent of its total 10,000 employees are European Union nationals and will get its support to obtain ‘settled status’ if needed.

“Like other retailers, we remain exposed to any impact Brexit may have on currency and consumer confidence,” the company said, adding that they were hedged against any sudden decline in sterling against the dollar.

Several British companies such as Topps Tiles and Electrocomponents are preparing for the risk of interruptions to the flow of goods and parts across borders once Britain leaves the European Union next March.

The retailer had reported a 24.3 percent rise in first-half pretax profit, which were in line with expectations, thanks to an increase in online demand. Revenue at its website Dunelm.com surged 35.8 percent in the period.

Dunelm has been expanding its online business, like many of its brick-and-mortar peers, as price-conscious Britons log more hours looking for bargains online, attracted by the ease of purchase.

The company, however, reiterated that it was cautious about the outlook for the remainder of the financial year as Brexit uncertainty continues, but was confident of meeting full-year market expectations, assuming no change in the macro-economic environment.

Reporting by Devika Syamnath in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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