Debenhams expects 20% profit jump

Debenhams is expecting annual profits to rise by 20% to £150m as it shifts away from concessions to higher margin, own bought ranges in clothing and home.

However the shift to “designer at Debenhams” ranges from partnerships with designers such as of Matthew Williamson and Henry Holland has hit like for like sales, the department store chain reported this morning (Tues 14th September).

Comparative sales recovered in the last ten weeks of the year but were flat overall during the retailer’s “year of change” the chain reported in its full-year trading update.

The group added six new stores during the year, comprising three Debenhams and three Desire stores, taking its total to 147 department stores and 13 Desire stores.

Meanwhile the retailer, which has been without a marketing director since Alison Jones defected to rival Arcadia in the spring, reported online sales were up 88.4% for the 52 weeks (excluding VAT) compared with the previous year.

Chief executive Rob Templeman says the retailer will “remain cautious about the level of consumer confidence going forward” despite “pleasing” profit performance.
“We have said throughout 2010 that this would be a year of change for Debenhams and a year when the structural shift towards own bought merchandise means that we will judge our performance on profit improvement rather than sales,” he adds.

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