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Sales up 3.9 per cent at Debenhams

Department store Debenhams yet again bucked the trend across the High Street as it reported sales up by 3.9% to 23 June 2012. The announcement sits against a challenging combination of bad weather and continuing economic uncertainty both at home and in the euro zone, meaning for other retailers many shoppers are staying at home.



Its enviable sales growth, according to the retailer, is down to meeting the needs of customers and delivering value, especially around key events such as Easter, Mother’s Day, the Diamond Jubilee and pay days/month ends.


Debenhams also invested in marketing to tell shoppers about these moments in time as well as continuing with its premium ‘Life Made Fabulous’ ad campaign.


Over the same period Debenhams managed to grow market share in key divisions, including womenswear, which has seen an increase by 10 basis points (Kantar Worldpanel Fashion market share for 12 weeks to 13 May 2012 vs 2011).


On-line sales also grew by 34.9% during the 16 weeks to 23 June and have increased by 40.2% year to date*. Visitor numbers were also up by 40%.


It’s also a further signal that chief executive Michael Sharp’s strategy is working and the Debenhams growth pillars of Focusing on UK Retail, Increasing Availability and Choice Through Multi-Channel, Delivering a Compelling Customer Proposition and Expanding the Brand Internationally are helping to drive this.


No.1 Jenny Packham is now the retailer’s leading occasionwear range following its launch in May when it joined Debenhams’ Designers at Debenhams portfolio. Created by British designer Jenny Packham, exclusively for Debenhams, her collection was brought in to further enhance the retailer’s ethos of making fabulous designer ranges accessible on the High Street.


“Our like-for-like growth really shows that if you communicate and deliver great value and great products then customers will shop with you. I am really pleased with the results.”


“Going forward there is little sign of a recovery in consumer confidence. So our focus will be the remorseless execution of the four pillars strategy to build a leading international, multi-channel brand which we believe will bring success irrespective of the wider economy, “ said Michael Sharp, Debenhams’ chief executive.


The retailer’s commitment to supporting the high street was also evident over the same time frame with nine modernisations in Middlesborough, Preston, Harrow, Luton, Bournemouth, Colchester, Reading, and Harrogate completed, with Chester due to re-launch on the 6th July.


Work has started on nine more namely, Bedford, Carlisle, Sutton, Hull, Plymouth, Salisbury, Southend, Worthing and Hanley (Stoke on Trent) and will be finished by the end of September.


The retailer’s flagship Oxford Street store is also going through a modernisation, both inside and out, which should be finished by October 2013.


Debenhams said that it remained comfortable with the market’s current reported profit before tax expectations for the whole year.



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