Department store chain Debenhams has posted positive results for the first half of its financial year – and the news has exceeded analysts' expectations.
Although the retail group saw a drop in share prices over the important Christmas period, the company says that profit before tax is up 4.3 per cent compared to the same period last year – bringing the number to £88.9 million.
The success has been partly attributed to the company's new focus on online delivery, which is up 12.7 per cent. Debt has also been cut by £62.4 million to £297.3 million.
Debenhams plans to continue its work to create sustainable growth for the long term.
Chief executive Michael Sharp says he is pleased with the progress the company has made against the strategic goals that were set out last year.
He notes that the company has improved its multi-channel offer and introduced premium delivery options during peak periods – something that has had a positive response from customers.
Mr Sharp also believes that continued refocusing of the company's promotional strategy led to an increase in full-price sales, as well an improvement in value perception.
There were 14 fewer promotion days – this supported higher sales of full-price own-branded items. In addition, like-for-like sales growth was boosted by one event moving forward one week.
"Overall, we delivered good first-half performance, despite a difficult clothing season in autumn and we are on track to achieve full-year expectations. We are continuing to plan prudently in the near term, while remaining focused on our strategic priorities," he says.
Debenhams reports that it is on-track to achieve full-year expectations.
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