RETAIL UPDATE: Debenhams up at half time

Department store releases trading update for first half of financial year.
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Debenhams has seen sales grow in the first half of its financial year, which comprises the 26 weeks ending February 27th 2010.

Gross transaction value (excluding Magasin du Nord) for the period was 1.7 per cent higher than the same period last year. Like for like sales increased 0.3 per cent over last year in the first half.

In the eight weeks since Debenhams' Christmas trading update, the chain has seen an improving trend in terms of like for like sales and gross margin.

Menswear and childrenswear share both increased, as did home market share.

The multi-channel business also continued to grow in the first half, with sales increasing over 80 per cent.

"We are pleased with our first half performance which shows continued progress in delivering our strategy," said Rob Templeman, chief executive of Debenhams. "In 2009 we were one of only a handful of retailers to increase sales, margins and profits and we have done so again in the first half of 2010. Against the backdrop of challenging trading conditions, we have delivered profit growth on a consistent basis for the past 18 months.

"Our strong own bought offer, not least the successful and exclusive Designers at Debenhams brands, which bring catwalk to the High Street, will remain our key driver of growth."


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