Debenhams suffered a 3.6% fall in like-for-like sales in the 26 weeks to the end of February – but will increase pre-tax profit, the company announced today.
Overall, sales rose 0.3% over the six-month period, and the department store retailer said it was still taking market share.
Increased sales of Debenhams’ own-brand products, which deliver higher margin and cost savings, will help pre-tax profits rise above the previous year’s £92m.
Debenhams’ debt is down on the previous year, and now stands at £990m.
The company plans to open eight new stores this and next year, which will help create 1,200 new jobs. It currently operates 153 stores in the UK and Ireland.
Looking ahead, chief executive Rob Templeman said: “We will continue to run Debenhams in the expectation that the trading environment will remain challenging.”