Like for like sales, which exclude new stores and floor space, were up only 0.3% during the six months to 27 February while total sales rose 11.6% to £1.19bn.
The department store chain attributes the boost in profits to its strategy to focus on own bought ranges and its Designers at Debenhams brand.
During the period, Debenhams added the Principles by Ben de Lisi and H! by Henry Holland brand to its Designers at Debenhams portfolio and opened four new stores.
It also bought the Danish department store chain Magasin du Nord.
Chief executive Rob Templeman says: “We believe that the work to improve our own-bought ranges, including Designers at Debenhams, both in terms of product design, quality and value and increasing the own bought mix will continue to find favour with customers and provide a solid platform for margin expansion and market share growth.”
The Debenhams chain is currently looking to appoint a marketing director following Alison Jones’ departure to join the Arcadia Group in February.