RETAIL UPDATE: Sales rise for Debenhams

Total sales up for year-end, plus department chain gains market share.
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Debenhams has released its trading update for its financial year 2009, ending August 29th 2009.

Gross transaction value for the period was 0.2 per cent higher than the previous year. Profit before tax and EBITDA for the financial year are expected to be ahead of 2008 and in line with management's expectations.

Like for like sales for the second half were 3.8 per cent lower than last year, compared to a decline for the year of 3.6 per cent. The disruption in sales can be attributed to one of the largest space moves in Debenhams' history, which began in the last quarter of the year.

This will see 530,000 sq ft of trading space converted from concessions to own bought ranges, including the introduction of a number of new brands and departments.

The shortfall in like for like sales was also more than offset by a strong gross margin performance, which improved significantly as the year progressed.

Market share gains were also achieved throughout the year. The exclusive Designers at Debenhams and own bought ranges were the best performing categories.

Five new department stores were opened in the UK during 2009, creating 800 new jobs.

Debenhams preliminary results for the financial year will be released on October 22nd.


Debenhams gains ground

Like for like sales down slightly in interim results, but retailer makes gains in all major clothing categories.

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