Homeware and furniture retailer Dunelm (DNLM) only relaunched its digital platform in October 2019. Moving to digital was the right strategy given the growth of ecommerce but previous attempts to make this happen had not gone well. The 2016 acquisition of online retailer Worldstores had been a flop, with losses racking up and the business's websites ultimately closed. But Dunelm has proved it is possible to learn from mistakes. The digital relaunch has proved a case of second time lucky, and in more ways than one. Just two months after its new digital systems went live, the first Covid-19 case was discovered in Wuhan. A few months after that, the UK government introduced its first lockdown, forcing Dunelm to close the doors of all its stores.
If the overused proverb about necessity being the mother of invention is really true, then it seems to be working its magic at Dunelm. For the 2020 financial year, digital made up 27 per cent of sales. By the end of its 2021 financial year it was 47 per cent. That's an impressively fast transformation.