Debenhams confident on new brands

Department store Debenhams says it expects full-year profit to be ahead of last year.


The retailer says sales for the year to 29 August were 0.2% higher than last year, a gain which should push pre-tax profit up “in line with management’s expectations”.

Debenhams is currently converting over 500,000 square feet of store space from concessions to own-bought ranges that includes a number of new brands.

Rob Templeman, chief executive of Debenhams, says although “early days”, it is encouraged by the launch of the new brands “which we expect to benefit gross margin during the course of the year.”

Templeman adds that it is happy with the full-year results particularly amid the “most difficult and volatile trading conditions in recent times”, adding that it remains “difficult to predict consumer behaviour” next year.

The retailer’s preliminary results for the financial year 2009 will be released on 22 October.

Debenhams, which raised £323m in a share sale in June, has been rumoured to be interested in acquiring rival department store House of Fraser.