Debenhams reported that its early spring season launch helped drive like-for-like sales growth in the first half.

The department store group also plans to lower prices as costs come down in its second half.

Debenhams debuted its spring season collections more than a week earlier than last year.

Chief executive Michael Sharp said: “We started slightly earlier than last year. Sales very quickly run out of steam and people look for something new.

“We successfully managed the launch and navigated the mindset change.”

Sharp expects Debenhams’ average selling prices to be lower in the second half as cotton prices abate. Selling prices rose 5% in the past year to reflect rising costs.

Debenhams like-for-likes rose 1.4% in the 26 weeks to March 3, increasing to 2.4% in the most recent eight-week period.

Sharp said Debenhams’ new ranges had been “very positively” received, in particular Designers at Debenhams lines. He said H! by Henry Holland was the best performing line over the 26-week period.

Designers at Debenhams is at the heart of the retailer’s growth strategy. Sharp said Debenhams was exploring expanding the ranges into other areas including accessories and shoes. The retailer is vying to win a greater market share in both categories and believes there is an opportunity to create differentiated product through Designers at Debenhams, which has proved successful in homewares.

He said: “Two-thirds of our customers say Designers is the reason why they shop at Debenhams. We have to offer more differentiated product by growing our own brand.”

Debenhams aims to increase revenue from Designers at Debenhams, which accounted for £524m in its last financial year, to £750m in the next three years.

Online sales soared 35% in the 26-week period. Sharp said Debenhams is pushing its online offer, launching web exclusives.