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Debenhams sees strong start to second half

Debenhams saw like-for-like sales rise 1.9% on top of an increase in gross margin for the seven weeks to April 18 after pre-tax profits climbed 10.7% to £104.2 million in the first half.

Debenhams saw gross transactional value rise 0.3% to £1.3 billion for the 26 weeks ended February 28. Like-for-like sales fell 3.6% over the six month period but gross margin was ahead 10 basis points, thanks to an increased contribution from own label product.

“The increase in profitability in the first half is a considerable achievement given the difficult trading conditions across the retail sector and reflects our commitment to producing stylish, quality products at exceptional value as well as a continuing focus on the levers that drive cash margin.”

Rob Templeman, chief executive, Debenhams

Debenhams said it had continued to gain market share and that its Designers At Debenhams ranges had continued to perform well.

Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman said: “The increase in profitability in the first half is a considerable achievement given the difficult trading conditions across the retail sector and reflects our commitment to producing stylish, quality products at exceptional value as well as a continuing focus on the levers that drive cash margin.”

Templeman added: “We are pleased with the performance of our own bought ranges and in particular Designers
at Debenhams where design excellence and enhanced product quality at great value are continuing to prove popular with consumers. This has led to further market share gains.”

“There is much to look forward to in the second half particularly in relation to the development of own bought product ranges with the expansion of some existing brands and the launch of a number of exciting new brands throughout the store at the end of the summer. The second half has started well with improvements in gross transaction value, like-for-like sales and gross margin. That said, we remain cautious about the outlook for
consumer confidence for the remainder of the year and we will continue to run the business
accordingly, with an ongoing focus on cash profit.”

 

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