Debenhams has faith in shoe chain

Debenhams has reported a fall in like for like sales and plans to buy the Faith shoe concession.

Like-for-like sales, which exclude new stores, fell by 0.4% over the 42 weeks to 19 June. The chain says the figure was driven down 1.5% by the chain’s shift its focus to own bought ranges.

Total sales at the group rose by 8.9% during the period, but up only 1.1% excluding the Danish department store chain Magasin du Nord that Debenhams acquired in November 2009.

The department store chain, which is still looking to replace marketing director Alison Jones following her departure to join the Arcadia Group, has agreed “in principle” to buy the Faith footwear concession business.

Faith fell into administration earlier this year. The deal is part of Debenhams commitment to increase its own label sales penetration.

Debenhams currently hosts 115 Faith concessions in its stores.

The chain says its Designers at Debenhams ranges Principles by Ben de Lisi and H! by Henry Holland are performing well and have been well received by customers.

Debenhams is building its multi-channel business with sales up 90% compared with the previous year as its collect-from-store and international delivery services appealing to customers.

Rob Templeman, chief executive of Debenhams, says: “2010 has been a year of change for Debenhams and a year when we will judge the performance of the business on profit improvement.

“Looking forward across the balance of the year, we remain cautious about the strength of the overall retail market and the level of consumer confidence. However, we believe that our focus on self-help levers will help to mitigate the macroeconomic pressures and enable Debenhams to make further progress over the coming year.”

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