Department store group Debenhams took market share from rivals last year, when it also transformed its trading space and increased margin.

The retailer posted a 13.7% rise in pre-tax profits to £125.2m for the 12 months to August 29, when sales rose 0.2% to £2.34bn.

Debenhams reported a rise in total fashion market share of 10 basis points, spearheaded by a 20 point uplift in menswear and 40 points in childrenswear.

Womenswear market share remained flat however, hit by weak concession performance and the the space moves in the fourth quarter, when the retailer shifted 530,000 sq ft of trading space from concessions to own-bought ranges during the final quarter.

Although like-for-likes fell 3.6% over the year – impacted by the space changes - the retailer said that the shortfall “was more than offset by a strong gross margin performance which improved significantly as the year progressed.” Gross margin rose by 70 basis points year-on-year.

Debenhams chief executive Rob Templeman said: “We are very pleased with the outcome for 2009, especially given the difficult economic and retail environment.

“The store space moves have now been completed and early indications are that customers are finding favour with the new ranges and departments. We continue to focus on improving the design, quality and value of or entire customer offer.”

* Debenhams confirmed that chairman John Lovering will retire from the board at the end of March 2010. A search for his successor has begun.