Debenhams is expected to report this week that its pre-tax profits have grown for the first time in four years thanks to a boost from store openings, new product ranges and later cut-off times for next-day delivery.
It is estimated that the UK’s second-biggest department store chain will record operating profits of £133.9m, after posting £89m in the first half of the year.
In recent weeks, the company’s performance has been marred by speculation of investor unrest and attempts to unseat the retailer’s top bosses. But City analysts see little weight in the rumours with the key Christmas trading period approaching.
John Stevenson, of Peel Hunt, said: “We find it hard to believe that any retailer would change its leadership so close to peak trading.” All eyes are already on “delivering peak” during the festive season, which analysts expect the full-year results to focus on.
Debenhams posted record sales last Christmas but this wasn’t enough to stop the chain delivering another set of disappointing results.
Further updates on space intensification programmes and online improvements are also anticipated.
Three years ago, Debenhams announced an ambitious expansion programme that would see several stores, including its Oxford Street flagship, revamped.
Some people close to the business suggest Sharp introduced unnecessary expense, reported the Financial Times.
At the same time, they say, Debenhams became too promotional: using special offers to boost trade, but hurt profits.