Debenhams profit up as it boosts fashion

Debenhams is launching a new designer fashion concept called Edition to build on its own brand fashion offering, as it reports an increase in full year sales and profit.

The department store chain says pre-tax profit increased 20.3% to £145.3m in the year ending 28 August.

The chain has reported its fifth consecutive quarter of growth although like for like sales across the year remained flat.

The launch of Edition is the next step in Debenhams’ strategy to shift its focus to own bought product ranges to boost margins.

The concept has been created to provide a “fluid” fashion and introduce the fashion industry’s “emerging and established” designers to Debenhams’ shoppers.

Edition will include fashion collections from designers Jonathan Saunders, Preen, Jonathan Kelsey and Roksanda Ilincic who will work with the retailer for a minimum of four seasons.

It will launch in spring 2011 with a “gallery style” area in stores.

Debenhams already works with designers including Matthew Williamson Henry Holland, and Jasper Conran to produce exclusive ranges.

Rob Templeman, chief executive of Debenhams, says: “We remain concerned about the general retail environment, but we are encouraged by the start to the new financial year. We will continue to focus on our core strategy of self-help initiatives focused on managing gross margins, driving market share and growing through expansion and investment.”

He adds that there is “much to be positive about” in the coming Christmas trading period and year beyond.

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