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Weather warms Debenhams' like-for-like sales

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Department store Debenhams have posted improved figures for the 52 weeks to 31 August this year on the back of warmer weather and strong online sales.

The multi-national retail chain, founded in 1778, posted total growth of 2.5 per cent and like-for-like (LFL) growth of 1.9 per cent as it nudged ahead of flat results posted last year. Online sales surged by 46.2 per cent - with online and mobile capability investment seeming to pay off dividends. The results signify a turnaround in fortunes as the group struggled this April; posting weak pre-tax profit results as it hit a post Christmas slump.

Michael Sharp, Chief Executive of Debenhams, said: “I am pleased with our performance in the final quarter of the year. We have succeeded in growing both like-for-like sales and market share in a competitive market where consumers’ disposable income remains under pressure. I am particularly pleased with the growth of our online business.”

The retailer has refurbished 12 stores this year, including the on-going Oxford Street flagship redevelopment, and posted market share gain in clothing and non-clothing categories including womenswear and beauty. The summer sun has led to catwalk level floral and pastel dresses from designers Henry Holland and Jenny Packham being picked up by Debenhams, who bring together a ‘house of brands’ to appeal to customers across the age and style spectrum.

Håkon Helgesen, consultant at Conlumino, commented: “This ability to quickly interpret high level fashion trends for its high street audience should not be underestimated. It stimulates both footfall and interest and allows product to be sold through at higher margins.

“A strong product pipeline as well as the uplifts coming from store refurbishments should help the group make further market share gains as it moves into its new financial year.”

The retailer will publish its full year results on 24 October 2013.

Published on Tuesday 17 September by Editorial Assistant

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