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Debenhams Sale was ‘call to action’ on high street

Debenhams’ four-day Spectacular last week created an “urgency” and a “call to action” among high street shoppers at the start of a new season, according to the department store chain’s deputy chief executive Michael Sharp.

Sharp said customers, uncertain about the outlook ahead of the austerity budget in October, had responded to “something new in stores which was available at good prices” and that Debenhams was pleased with the results.

Sharp said the Sale was a repackaging of the retailer’s promotional activity from the same time last year. “It’s all about giving people a new message and freshening up what we were already doing,” he said.

Debenhams said it expected profits to rise about 20% in the year to August 28, or 35% compared with two years ago, to about £150m before exceptionals.
Like-for-likes were flat over the year, affected by the conversion of trading space from concessions to own-bought product which generated better margins, up about 100 basis points.

Sharp said he was confident the retailer would gain market share in womenswear - which dropped 10 basis points during the year - when it annualised the space changes.

Menswear share rose 20 basis points and kidswear 10 basis points.

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