Debenhams is looking to bring more upmarket brands into its business on the back of its £25m Oxford Street redevelopment.
Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp said more premium labels that would not sell through the department store now would be wooed by its revamp, which when unveiled in December will improve the retailer’s brand perception.
He said: “When it’s finished I wouldn’t be surprised if brands contacted us to say: “What you’ve done is great and would you like to sell our brand in your store?”
Debenhams trading director Suzanne Harlow said the addition of brands would move the department store’s offer more upmarket and would “bridge the gap” between its current brand positioning and House of Fraser’s more premium offer.
She said there was a big opportunity to attract more aspirational home, beauty and accessories brands.
Sharp told Retail Week that some of the new brands might be limited to its Oxford Street flagship although some could “percolate” through to other regional flagships.
Debenhams reported a 2.7% dip in full year profits today but online was its star performer as sales via the channel surged 46.2% to £366.3m, representing 13.2% of group sales.
Sharp said it was devoting more space to click-and-collect in its stores to match consumers’ shopping habits and bring customers to store in the face of falling footfall across the high street.
The retailer, which introduced free wifi across all of its stores last year, is also looking to capitalise on opportunities presented by smartphone usage and plans to debut a function which allow customers to “check in” to stores via their mobiles.
This will allow Debenhams to offer customers personalised offers in-store. Sharp said the function may also allow it to be “more efficient” with its click-and-collect service as its staff would know when shoppers arrive in store.
Sharp also said Debenhams will launch scheduled click-and-collect time slots in the year ahead.