Debenhams posts ‘good performance’ in first half

Department store chain Debenhams has recorded a 5.5% jump in group pre-tax profit to £93.8m for its half year results.

Group like-for-like sales rose 1.1% and group EBITDA increased 1.3% to £153m for the 26 weeks to February 27. UK EBITDA climbed 3% to £125.5m.

As planned, five new stores opened between September and November 2015 in Bradford, Wandsworth, Rugby, Beverley and Newport. The Cheltenham branch was closed due to a lease expiry.

The retailer attributed its financial performance to refocused promotional activity, less discounting and a reduction in stock levels.

The chain added that further multi-channel service improvements supported continued online growth, with online sales up 10% and online EBITDA up 12% in the half.

Orders on mobile devices continue to be its fastest-growing channel, representing almost 50% of online sales.

A new international web platform was also launched during the period, offering local currency payment and local language options

Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp said: “A strong operational performance resulted in a record Christmas, and further growth in first half profits against a good performance in the prior year.

“Our customers are responding positively to our multi-channel strategy, finding our mix of products and brands both compelling and great value for money.

“Although there is plenty more to do, we are on track to deliver full year results in line with market expectations. When I leave the business later this year I am confident that it will be in a good position to deliver continued sustainable growth under a strong and capable management team.”

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