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Debenhams update reassures City

Debenhams saw like-for-like sales rise 1% for the 10 weeks since its interim results in April.

Debenhams, which rushed out a trading update this morning following speculation that its sales had collapsed which sent its shares sinking to an all time low yesterday, said that sales for the 42 weeks ended June 21 were ahead 1.3% but down 0.6% on a like for like basis.

Debenhams said it had continued to grow market share across key product categories, with own-bought and designer ranges performing particularly well. Debenhams said it expected gross margin for the year to be somewhere between flat and plus 20 basis points.

Debenhams added that no changes had been made to supplier terms “outside the ordinary course of business”. Reports over the weekend said that Debenhams had extended its supplier payment terms to 96 days and had asked for bigger discounts.

Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman said: “In light of the tough trading environment across the whole UK retail sector, we are pleased with customer response to our new ranges and, as a result, our improving sales performance for the period. The strength of Designers at Debenhams is particularly pleasing. We continue to take market share across our key product categories.”

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