Debenhams is to overhaul its in-store branding for key Designers at Debenhams ranges, as it banks on own-bought brand sales to drive growth during the downturn.

It will unveil new-look shopfits for its Julien Macdonald and Jasper Conran ranges, allowing the brands’ personalities to feature more prominently.

The first fruits of the initiative will feature at Julien Macdonald in Debenhams’ Ashford store in Kent. Elements will roll out to the rest of stores for autumn.

Debenhams will also test a new look for its home division at its Liverpool store, set to open next month. The area will showcase Designers at Debenhams home collections and the number of ranges will be increased by 20 to 30 per cent this autumn. It will also introduce the format to its White City store.

Chief executive Rob Templeman said: “Home is a crowded area, we have had to be much more style-led and fashionable.”

In the 26 weeks to March 1, sales of the retailer’s own-bought products accounted for 72.2 per cent of total sales.

Underlying pre-tax profit fell 12 per cent, but came in ahead of consensus at£94.1 million. Net debt was reduced to£979 million. Debenhams’ like-for-likes fell 0.7 per cent in the period, but sales are believed to have dropped 2.5 per cent since March 1, although gross margins are thought to be up 30 basis points.

Templeman added: “It is tough out there, but we have held up in a difficult market.”