Debenhams reports strong Christmas sales
Department store chain Debenhams said group like-for-like sales increased by 1.4% for the 18 weeks to 7 January. However trading was stronger in the five weeks to 31 December with growth in group like-for-like sales of 6.5%.
Debenhams’ online business, which is a key component of its multi-channel offer, delivered a strong performance with like-for-like sales increasing by 34.8%.
Debenhams said it had continued to take a pragmatic approach to trading throughout the 18 weeks, focusing on maximising cash gross margin through management of promotional events and product mix. The retailer said gross margin guidance for the financial year remained unchanged at flat.
One new store opened in Newbury during the 18 weeks taking the total to 170 stores in the UK, Ireland and Denmark. Two new international franchise stores were also opened, both in the Philippines, taking the total number of stores to 66 in 25 countries.
Michael Sharp, CEO, said: "I am pleased with this performance. We traded well despite the difficult environment as evidenced by strong sales in December, including record sales in the final week before Christmas.
"Looking forward, we are cautious about the strength of the economy and its impact on consumer behaviour over the remainder of the financial year. We will continue to manage the business tightly with an ongoing emphasis on cost and margin management. We are confident that the design, quality and value offered by our spring/summer 2012 product ranges will find favour with customers and expect to see some benefit from lower input prices in the second half of the year."
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