Debenhams reveals trading update

Like for like sales for the year ending August 30th down 0.9 per cent.
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High Street department store Debenhams has given what its chief executive describes as a 'creditable sales performance given the retail climate' in a trading update for the financial year 2007/8, which ended on August 30th.

Gross transaction value for the year was 1.3 per cent higher than the previous year, however like for like sales were down by 0.9 per cent.

Market share gains were achieved in all major product categories, with own bought products making a strong contribution to sales. Gross margin was flat on last year, but in line with guidance given during the year.

Profit before tax for the year and the net debt position at year end are both expected to be in line with market consensus.

Two new department stores in Dunfermline and Blackpool opened at the end of August which will contribute to the company's performance in the new financial year. At year end, the portfolio stood at 139 department stores and ten Desire stores.

Debenhams preliminary results for the financial year 2007/8 will be released on Tuesday October 21st.

"Debenhams ongoing investment in product design, quality and value, plus the differentiation of our exclusive designer ranges, has resulted in market share gains both overall and for each major clothing category, and has enabled us to deliver what we believe to be a creditable sales performance given the retail climate," said chief executive Rob Templeman.

"Trading in August showed a marked improvement over July, but the UK retail sector continues to be adversely affected by wider economic concerns. We will continue to focus on meeting the needs of our customers to enable us to make further market share gains in what continues to be a challenging macroeconomic environment."

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