Debenhams CEO Rob Templeman to leave

Debenhams has announced that chief executive Rob Templeman is stepping down as the department store chain reports an increase in revenue and profit for the first half of the year.

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Templeman will leave the department store chain at the end of the financial year after eight years as CEO. He will be succeeded by deputy chief executive Michael Sharp on 5 September.

Sharp has been deputy chief executive since 2008. Debenhams chairman Nigel Northridge says Sharp has played a key role in managing the business and his succession will “ensure continuity of management and strategy”.

The department store chain’s revenue increased 2.9% to £1.2bn from £1.1bn and pre-tax profit increased 4% to £125.3m for the six months to 26 February.

The retailer has bucked the gloom many high street retailers have reported and posted six consecutive halves of pre-tax profit growth against a “difficult” trading environment.

Sales at Debenhams Direct, its online business increased 82.4% to £92.3m, driven by investment in multi-channel.

The retailer has built its multi-channel business through smartphone apps, online video service Debenhams TV, SMS and mobile coupons and internet kiosks in stores and says this will help its position when the retail environment improves.

Templeman sounded a note of optimism for the high street suggesting commodity prices such as cotton may fall and ease the pressure on retailers and consumers.

Debenhams says Templeman will remain involved with the business as a consultant.

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