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Debenhams posts strong festive performance

Debenhams has posted a strong festive performance as sales in the five weeks to December 31 increased by 6.5% including VAT on last year.

The department store also saw record sales and its strongest Christmas week ever.

Meanwhile, across the 18 weeks to 7 January 2012, like-for-likes at the department store chain increased 1.4%, although were flat, excluding VAT. Online sales rocketed by 34.8%.

Debenhams said it was “pleased” with its performance, taking into account the warmer weather across October and November, which impacted sales of seasonal product lines coupled with low consumer confidence.

H by Holland was the best performing designer for womenswear and the department store has reported selling 400,000 men’s jumpers, 100,000 party dresses and 200,000 handbags in the Christmas period.

The retailer said it had focused on maximising cash gross margin by using promotional events and product mix. Gross margin guidance for the financial year remains flat.

Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp said: “Looking forward, we are cautious about the strength of the economy and its impact on consumer behaviour over the remainder of the financial year. 

“We will continue to manage the business tightly with an ongoing emphasis on cost and margin management.  We are confident that the design, quality and value offered by our S12 product ranges will find favour with customers and expect to see some benefit from lower input prices in the second half of the year.”

Within the 18 week period, Debenhams opened one new store in Newbury  and two international franchise stores in the Philippines. This takes the UK, Ireland and Denmark total to 170 stores with 66 stores in 25 countries.


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