Half-year sales to March 1 at Debenhams were up 1.2% on the same period last year – but like-for-like sales at the department store retailer dropped 0.7%.

Like-for-like sales dip at Debenhams

Half-year sales to March 1 at Debenhams were up 1.2% on the same period last year – but like-for-like sales at the department store retailer dropped 0.7%.

Like-for-like sales dip at Debenhams

In a trading update, the company said the results reflected challenging trading conditions across the sector in January and February.

Gross margin for the first half is expected to be down year on year by some 20 basis points, largely owing to price realignments in some ranges in the second half of last year. Pre-tax profit is expected to be in line with market estimates.

Chief executive Rob Templeman said: “Following a good performance over Christmas and the January sale, market conditions were tough through the remainder of January and February.”

He said the company would be focusing on driving sales, gaining market share and controlling stocks and cost base.

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