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Online surge boosts sales by 2% at Debenhams

Group like-for-like sales at Debenhams were up 2% for the 52 weeks to August 31 due to a 46% boost in online sales.

Mobile growth was “significant” during the year with visits up 72% and revenue increasing by 128%.

Online market share at the department store chain increased by 50 basis points to 3.7% for the 24 weeks to August 4, compared to the same period last year.

Total clothing, footwear and accessories share at Debenhams also increased by 30 basis points in the 12 weeks to August 4.

In its trading update the retailer said gross margin for the 52 weeks to August 31 is expected to be flat, in line with guidance, reflecting a “good recovery” in the second half following a decline of 20 basis points in the first half of the year.

The Oxford Street store revamp is on schedule with disruption to store trading in line with guidance. New stores opened during the year in Chesterfield and Lichfield performed ahead of their internal expectations.

Michael Sharp, chief executive of Debenhams, said he was pleased with the company’s growth in a “competitive market” where consumer’s disposable income remains “under pressure”.

He added: “While the return to more seasonal weather conditions over the summer has been helpful, the main factor behind this performance has been the relentless focus of everyone at Debenhams on implementing the four pillars of our strategy to create a leading international, multi-channel brand. Looking forward, we are confident in our strategy but are not expecting any rapid recovery in consumer sentiment and the marketplace remains highly competitive.”

Debenhams currently trades out of 236 stores across 28 countries. In the UK, the department store has a top five market share in womenswear and menswear and a top ten share in kidswear.

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