Debenhams will impress bidders with solid results

In-play department store group Debenhams has proved to prospective suitors that its management team has not taken its eye off the ball.

Prelims for the year to August show sales up 6.7 per cent to£1.8 billion, with like for likes up 3.7 per cent.

However, pre-tax profit slipped back to£151 million, after£17 million of bid-related costs were deducted. Last year's profit was£154 million.

Shareholders are awaiting a renewed approach from Laragrove. The Permira-backed bid was trumped by a 455p a share offer from rival consortium Baroness Retail, valuing the chain at£1.66 billion.

Bids must be lodged by October 31 before proceeding to an auction, culminating with sealed bids, if necessary, on November 4.