Debenhams has blamed a weak consumer environment and poor spring weather for dampening sales for the 16 week period to June 22.
Group gross transaction value for the department store group increased by 1% and for the first 42 weeks of the year grew by 2.6%. Like-for-like sales were flat for the 16 week period and increased by 2.1% for the 42 weeks.
Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp said: “Debenhams has delivered a robust performance, continuing to grow market share in our key categories [including home] in a volatile period.”
He added: “I’m particularly pleased that we have maintained strong growth of online sales, which were up by 40%.”
He continued: “We expect trading conditions to remain challenging in the balance of the financial year as consumer sentiment continues to be weak. At this stage, we are comfortable with the range of market expectations for profit before tax for the year as a whole. ”
Meanwhile, Debenhams is searching for 430 staff to fill a range of roles at its Oxford Street flagship in central London, which is undergoing a £25 million refurbishment. The company said the project, which will ‘represent one of the biggest redevelopments the West End has ever seen,’ is on track for completion in December.
Five other store modernisations were completed in June and another seven have commenced for completion in time for peak trading.
A new 30,000 sq ft store opened in Lichfield in May and “has traded very well in its early weeks”; the new store pipeline stands at 16 stores between 2014 and 2017.