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Debenhams drives market share

Debenhams has revealed that it has grown its market share in fashion last year after it converted trading space to own-label and increased margin.

The retailer said pre-tax profits rose 13.7% to £125.2m for the 12 months to August 29, when sales rose 0.2% to £2.34bn.

Market share gains

Debenhams reported a rise in total fashion market share of 10 basis points, driven by a 20 point uplift in menswear and 40 points in childrenswear.

Womenswear market share remained flat however, hit by weak concession performance and the conversion of space in the fourth quarter, when the retailer shifted 530,000 sq ft of trading space from concessions to own-bought ranges.


Like-for-likes fell 3.6% over the year as a result of the space changes but Debenhams said the shortfall “was more than offset by a strong gross margin performance which improved significantly as the year progressed.” Gross margin rose by 70 basis points year-on-year.

Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman said: “We are very pleased with the outcome for 2009, especially given the difficult economic and retail environment.

“The store space moves have now been completed and early indications are that customers are finding favour with the new ranges and departments. We continue to focus on improving the design, quality and value of or entire customer offer.”

Principles by Ben de Lisi

Debenhams has also signed designer Ben de Lisi to relaunch Principles as a Designers At clothing range for the store.

Principles by Ben de Lisi will debut in Debenhams stores in February and will be priced 15 to 20% lower than the original Principles offer. It will occupy 90,000 sq ft of space in the department store chain, which has been converting space to its own-label offer to drive margins.

De Lisi, who already designs occasionwear range BDL by Ben de Lisi for Debenhams, will reinstate Principles as a modern tailoring brand aimed at the 40-plus market. The collection consists of 106 pieces of weekend, smart day, occasion and eveningwear and 46 pieces in a petite offering. Debenhams said that despite the drop in price, quality will not be compromised.

Principles formed part of the administration of then-parent company Mosaic. Debenhams – which delivered £60m of Principles total £150 turnover - acquired the Principles stock following the administration and has purchased the worldwide rights to the brand name.

Debenhams confirmed that chairman John Lovering will retire from the board at the end of March 2010. A search for his successor has begun.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Having not been near Debenhams for 18 months or more I took the opportunity to have a little spy on Tuesday and cannot see how they can still exist, their offer is appalling in dreary and uninspiring settings. How anyone shops there is beyond me and with its eyes seemingly routed on own labels it amazes me that they survive, then again they do have £1 billion debt!

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