• Debenhams like-for-likes edge up 0.6% in the 52 weeks to August27
  • Underlying pre-tax profits “in line with market expectations” up 0.5% to £114.1m
  • Gross transaction value up 1.3% to £2.9bn
  • Statutory group revenue slips 0.5% to £2.3bn. 
  • Online sales grew 9.3% with online EBITDA up 14.0%

Debenhams’ like-for-like sales and profits have crept up as its strategy to rebalance towards non-clothing starts to pay off. 

The department store chain, whose new chief executive Sergio Bucher took over earlier this month, posted a 0.6% increase in like-for-like sales in the 52 weeks to August 27. 

Pre-tax profits on an underlying basis edged up 0.5% to £114.1m.

However on a reported basis pre-tax profits slid 10.4% to £101.7m in the 52 weeks.

Gross transaction value on a group basis rose 1.3% to £2.9bn.

Group statutory revenue fell 0.5% in the period to £2.3bn. In the UK full-year revenue slid 0.8% to £1.9bn. 

Debenhams said the results reflected a “solid performance over peak followed by a tougher second-half trading environment”.

It added that progress in its strategic priorities, such as expanding its mix of non-clothing categories in order to offset the weak fashion market, “underpinned solid growth”.

This particular measure supported its performance across its beauty, gift, swimwear and food departments.

Continued growth

The retailer said it would continue to grow its non-clothing categories and unveiled plans to launch lighting in 30 stores this season and roll out furniture ‘hubs’ in eight stores. 

Debenhams chairman Sir Ian Cheshire said: “Our diversified business model together with good cash generation and reducing debt means that Debenhams is in good shape to withstand a market background that remains uncertain.

“Our executive team, supported by all our colleagues, are actively managing the business to increase its resilience and flexibility, which will stand us in good stead to deliver long term sustainable growth.”

At the end of the financial year Debenhams operated from 253 stores across 27 countries and was available online in 60 countries.

Its online sales jumped 9.3% during the period and now represent 14.7% of the group’s total sales.

The retailer added international trading was broadly flat, with progress at its Danish department store subsidiary Magasin du Nord “helping to offset tougher trading conditions” in its core Middle Eastern markets where the retailer has 68 franchise stores.

Debenhams’ new chief executive Sergio Bucher took the reins at the department store earlier this month.