Debenhams issues warning over profits amid “volatility in trading week to week”


Debenhams has issued a warning over profits as it stated rough market conditions could see annual figures come in at the lower end of expectations.

Following a 0.9 per cent drop in third quarter like-for-likes, and 2.4 per cent on a constant currency basis, the department store has said full year profits are likely to take a hit.

Gross transaction values also dropped one per cent in the 15-week period to June 17, although online sales saw a 7.9 per cent boost.

Things looked at little brighter in terms of year-to-date figures, seeing a 1.7 per cent jump in gross transaction values and a 12.6 per cent jump in online sales.

The retailer is in the midst of a turnaround strategy driven by new chief executive Sergio Bucher, stating it has made “good progress” with its programme.

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This has seen 2000 staff be retrained for customer facing roles, replenishment times reduced from eight days to two and a transition to a single warehouse management system.

“We have already started to deliver changes that will improve service for our customers and simplify and focus our operations,” said Bucher, who joined the retailer from Amazon in October.

“As industry data has confirmed, May was a tough month for retailers and we continue to see volatility in trading week to week. As a result we are focused on delivering cost control and self‐help through our ‘Fix the Basics’ plan.

“We continue to build good foundations for longer term growth at Debenhams by becoming a destination, digital and different.”

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