Debenhams will reduce its concession space by 450,000 sq ft as sales from own-bought ranges drive performance.
In the 26 weeks to February 28, sales of own-bought products – which accounted for 75.6 per cent of sales – rose 4.4 per cent while concessions sales fell 11.8 per cent.
The change in the ratio of concessions to own-bought will largely be due to the closure of Principles concessions in the autumn, following the brand’s administration. Debenhams bought a temporary licence for the brand and stock in warehouses.
In addition, the retailer will bolster its own-label offer in footwear, where it has only a 2 per cent market share at present, including concessions. It is also in talks with designer Henry Holland about creating a Designers at Debenhams range.
Debenhams deputy chief executive Michael Sharp said the own-bought focus “gives us greater control of our destiny in a volatile world”.
Headline profit before tax at Debenhams rose 10.7 per cent to £104.2m during the first half, on sales up 0.3 per cent to £1.3bn. Like-for-likes fell 3.6 per cent. Net debt reduced by £66.8m to £927.2m.
Like-for-likes in the seven weeks to April 18 grew 1.9 per cent and gross margins were ahead.
Sharp said: “We have seen margin growth and net debt reduction compared with the same period last year and market share growth – a true measure of performance in a difficult climate.”
Citi analyst Richard Edwards said: “Driven by the Designers at Debenhams ranges, Debenhams continues to take market share.” He added it appears to be “delivering one of the strongest revenue growth patterns across the sector”.