Baby Bunting shares have risen more than 10 per cent after Australia’s largest specialty retailer of baby goods said its sales growth had continued despite the coronavirus lockdowns.

The company said since December 30, total sales growth is 13.2 per cent, comparable store sales growth is 8.1 per cent and online sales are up 66 per cent, compared to the same period a year ago.

“Our sales performance reflects the less discretionary nature of the baby category and we have welcomed many new customers to our brand in these difficult times,” Baby Bunting said.

At 1052 AEDT, Baby Bunting shares were up 11.2 per cent to $2.97, their highest level since March 5.

The company said its online sales have surged 121 per cent since the lockdowns began on March 23, growing from 12.4 per cent of all sales to 22.4 per cent of sales.

Forty-two per cent of these online orders end up as no-contact click-and-collect transactions at the company’s stores, which have remained open during the pandemic.

To help meet demand Baby Bunting has commissioned another online fulfilment hub at Casula, southwest of Sydney, joining the hubs at Cannington, WA and Hobart.

It has also started an assisted telephone shopping service for parents-to-be and new parents.

“There are around 6,000 babies born in Australia each week and we are critically aware of how important it is to provide support to new and expectant parents at a time when they face additional challenges brought about by social distancing requirements,” chief executive Matt Spencer said.

The company did not provide a breakdown of total sales performance since March 23 but said stores located in shopping centres and selected stores in Victoria and NSW have been hit by lower foot traffic.

The company said that as it enters the final part of the financial year – its largest and most important promotional period – it remained difficult to anticipate consumer behaviour in the current environment and its associated effect on sales and the cost of doing business.

As such it has not provided guidance.

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