Friday, February 22, 2019

Turnaround plan begins at Debenhams after profit hit


Pre-tax profit has plummeted at department store Debenhams as it failed to keep up with rivals John Lewis and House of Fraser.

Profit before tax fell 24.5 per cent to £85.2m but group like-for-like sales rose 1.5 per cent for the 26 weeks to 1 March 2014.

UK revenue rose 1 per cent to £1.2bn as Michael Sharp, Chief Executive of Debenhams said it had been a “challenging” first half but said it was taking decisive action to address issues.

The group said it would introduce next day click and collect and extended the cut off for next day delivery to home from 2pm to up to 10pm.

A focus on building a stronger multi-channel offer for its customers was announced, which includes a strengthening of its mobile platform and a visual refresh of furniture, childrenswear and womenswear online. It also confirmed it would increase the automation in distribution centres as total operating costs grew by 4.3 per cent.

It blamed the “intense” Christmas promotional environment for lower than expected clothing sales and disappointing sales.

The department store, which has 158 UK stores, plans to add 14 new stores in the UK over the next four years. It said new stores would be “configured” to take account of the changing role of the store in a multi-channel world.

Sharp added: “Whilst we remain cautious about the strength of the UK consumer recovery, I am confident the changes we are putting in place will provide a better customer experience and, over time, stronger results for our shareholders,”

International sales revenue was relatively healthy and rose 6.8 per cent to £280m.


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