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Debenhams celebrates ‘best ever December’

Debenhams has reported having its “best ever December” this morning (January 12) as a reduction in discounting saw full price sales edge up 5% during Christmas week.

Online sales in the seven days running up to Christmas were up 36% on 2014, with click & collect peaking at 46% of all online sales that week.

Debenhams, which has been criticised for excessive discounting in the past, said “a lower level of promotional activity” was supported by a reduction in stock of outerwear.

“A planned reduction in clothing stocks has enabled us to trade a difficult autumn clothing season successfully and we entered the sale period post‐Christmas with less stock than in the prior year,” a statement read.

Meanwhile group like-for-like sales for the 19 weeks to January 9 were up 3.5% in constant currency while online sales jumped 12.1% year-on-year.

The department store group did not break down profit for the period but said gross margin was within the full year guidance of between 0 and +50 basis points.

Michael Sharp, chief executive of Debenhams, said: “This performance is evidence that our strategy is working with our customers finding our mix of products and brands both compelling and great value for money. The further improvements to our service proposition and our online presentation have delivered strong multi‐channel sales growth, building on the progress we saw last year. We remain on track to deliver full year profits in line with market expectations.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • Maybe Debenhams have finally realised that excessive discounting does not work? While there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for the store, they still have an awful lot of work to do if they are serious about shedding their longstanding discount image.

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