Debenhams saw like-for-like sales excluding VAT fall 3.6% for the 26 weeks ended February 28, but the department store said it had continued to gain market share across all of its major categories.
Gross transaction value rose 0.3% over the six month period and added that pre-tax profit and EBITDA would be ahead of last year thanks to tight cost control and improved gross margin.
“Visibility for the second half remains poor and we will continue to run Debenhams in the expectation that the trading environment will remain challenging.”
Rob Templeman, chief executive, Debenhams
Debenhams said that own bought ranges, particularly its Designers At collections, had delivered good sales growth and that it had pressed on with its strategy to expand own label. It added that this had helped boost gross margin and that gross margin for the first half would be higher than the prior year.
Debenhams bought the stock of principles“>Principles, one of its key concessionaires earlier this month. It plans to trade the brand under a temporary license and said that the purchase would be beneficial to its business.
However Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman said: “Visibility for the second half remains poor and we will continue to run Debenhams in the expectation that the trading environment will remain challenging.”