FTSE 250 home interior stock Dunelm (LSE:DNLM) saw online sales skyrocket in 2020 and they now account for 40% of its total group sales. Total sales increased by almost 12% in the 13 weeks to 26 December. This was particularly impressive given that most of its stores were forced to close to meet the government lockdown restrictions. Year-to-date the Dunelm share price has fallen almost 6%, so does it present a good long-term investment?
Dunelm share price fluctuations
The five-year chart for the Dunelm share price shows growth of 39%. However, between 2016 and 2019, its share price fell 40%. Since 2019, it’s been enjoying an upward trajectory with some major peaks and troughs. Most UK shares plummeted during the 2020 March market crash, and Dunelm was no exception. By October it had rebounded 55% but since then it’s pulled back 23%. This all amounts to a roller-coaster ride for dedicated shareholders, some of whom will not yet be better off for investing.
One notable billionaire made 99% of his current wealth after his 50th birthday. And here at The Motley Fool, we believe it is NEVER too late to start trying to build your fortune in the stock market. Our expert Motley Fool analyst team have shortlisted 5 companies that they believe could be a great fit for investors aged 50+ trying to build long-term, diversified portfolios.
Dunelm’s price-to-earnings ratio is 27 today. It has earnings per share of 43p, and it doesn’t offer a dividend. It was one of the many FTSE companies that opted to cancel their dividends in response to the pandemic. When coronavirus hit, Dunelm’s operating profit fell by almost a tenth to £116m in 2020.
Overpriced vs bargain basement
The rally after March meant investors plunged into those stocks that were likely to survive, while leaving the less likely candidates struggling for air. This means many outstanding stocks ended 2020 overvalued, while their unloved counterparts presented a potential bargain. It makes deciding to buy expensive stocks a little tricky.
Since its share price pull back, a price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) of 27 doesn’t seem too bad for Dunelm. Many other stocks are a lot higher. Traditionally an average P/E for a decent stock would be around 15, but in the past year this has risen above 20.
If the FTSE continues to rise and the economy gets back on track, then there’s not much to worry about. But things are uncertain, and the Covid-19 story is still not very reassuring. Therefore, these pricey stocks could be first in line for a significant correction if things get much worse. For those investors looking to buy for the long-term of five years or more, then this may not be of too much concern.
A rush on renovations
The pandemic led to a massive spike in home renovations and interior decorating, which is partly why Dunelm can now boast that 40% of its total sales come from online purchases. Whether this home improvement trend will continue long term remains to be seen. Dunelm presents a convenient one-stop shop for all interior decorating needs, and prices are fairly competitive. Many consumers are likely to become repeat buyers as long as they’ve had a good customer experience. According to Trustpilot, Dunelm it has 4.3 stars, which means 72% of customer reviews grade it as Excellent. This is a reassuring sign.
I’ve only shopped in Dunelm a couple of times. It has a lot of competitors, including Next and Amazon. With the UK retail environment suffering extensively in the wake of a miserable economy, I’m steering clear of this sector. For now, I’m not tempted to buy shares in Dunelm.