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Designers At ranges drive like-for-likes rise at Debenhams

Strong sales of Debenhams’ Designers At collections are expected to help the department store chain to meet full year profits targets despite tough high street conditions.

Debenhams posted like-for-like sales growth, excluding VAT, of 1.5% in the second half to date, resulting in a decline of 0.4% in the 43 weeks to June 25. Gross transaction value was up 2.9% and 3.1% respectively.

Debenhams said sales of Principles by Ben de Lisi have risen up 70% while H! By Henry Holland is up by 40%. Sales of the Floozie swimwear range by Frost French have increased by 70%.

Directors of the 169-store retailer said they were “particularly pleased” with sales trends in the past two months, including the customer take-up of its dedicated iPhone app.

It is reported the channel has already exceeded £1m in sales and has been downloaded 500,000 times. There has also been “good growth” in downloads of Nokia and Android apps.

Overall multichannel operations performed strongly with sales across online, in-store ordering and mobile sales climbing 77%.

Chief executive Rob Templeman said Debenhams had managed pressures such as rising costs by realigning its ranges and that cash margin was the priority. The retailer invested some gross margin in driving sales but gross margin for the year will be “broadly neutral”.

Self-help customer order points are being installed in all shops “and are particularly beneficial in smaller stores through augmenting the range,” the retailer said.

Templeman said: “We are continuing to make progress despite significant headwinds in the sector and are pleased with the performance of the business in the year so far. 

“We remain cautious about the consumer environment and will continue to focus on growing cash margin through our self-help strategy of investing in our store portfolio, developing a seamless multichannel business and managing our supply chain effectively.”

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