Sales growth slows at Debenhams
Department store Debenhams said its sales growth slowed in the 16 weeks to 22 June as the weak consumer environment and unseasonably cold spring weather reduced demand for its new season ranges.
Like-for- like sales were flat in the first 16 weeks of the second half compared to growth of 3.1% in the first half of the year. Group gross transaction value increased by 1%.
In the first 42 weeks of the group’s financial year, group gross transaction value grew by 2.6% while like-for- likes sales increased by 2.1%
Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp said the group had put in a robust performance, adding that it remained comfortable that it would meet City forecasts for its pre-tax profits for the full year.
Online sales surged by 40% in the 16 week period and accounted for 14% of total sales. Mobile was the fastest growing channel with visits through online channels up 85% during the 16 weeks compared to the same period last year.
Debenhams said it had grown its market share in key categories such as womenswear, menswear, premium beauty and home.
Sharp added: "Debenhams has delivered a robust performance, continuing to grow market share in our key categories in a challenging and volatile period. I'm particularly pleased that we have maintained strong growth of online sales which were up by 40%.
"We have managed the business to reflect the market conditions, with a strong focus on stocks, margins and costs. We are also making good progress on the four pillars of our strategy to build a leading international, multi-channel brand. As a result, at this stage we remain comfortable with the range of market expectations for profit before tax for the year as a whole. "
The group said the transformation of its Oxford Street shop into an international flagship store was on schedule ahead of its official launch in December. The new store will create 430 new jobs.
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