Debenhams will introduce a more visually-inspiring and easier-to-shop concept for homewares in its new flagship Liverpool store, which opens next month.
The company made the announcement as it released its results for the half year to March 1 2008, which show a 12.8% slump in pre-tax profit from £105.5m to £92.0m.
Sales grew £15.8m to £1,303.6m, a 1.2% increase mainly attributable to new space. Like-for-like sales fell 0.7% during the period, reflecting the challenging trading conditions in the retail sector, said the company.
Gross margin was 20 basis points lower than in the previous year following investment in lower prices.
Performance of the home division improved after a slow start, with the Designer business showing good growth, indicating an opportunity to sell exclusive, contemporary ranges at good value, the company said.
Debenhams Direct continued to grow strongly, with visitors and sales up 58% and 81% respectively.
During the period, Debenhams opened three new department stores. In the second half, Liverpool is set to open in May and a further flagship store is scheduled for White City towards the end of 2008.