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Debenhams bucks festive sales trend

Debenhams staked its claim to be one of the Christmas winners in the retail sector by posting a 6.5 per cent leap in underlying festive sales.

The chain said it benefited from being a one-stop shop and the ongoing success of its Designers at Debenhams ranges, which means that half of its products are exclusive. Michael Sharp, the chief executive, said: "We have traded as well as the best if not better than most of our competitors."

He also hit back at critics of its frequent promotions, saying the group had pursued this strategy for 30 years and it was no more promotional in 2011 than in the previous year.

Mr Sharp added: "What is particularly encouraging is that we saw our strongest Christmas week ever."

The best-performing designer range was the young fashion line H by Henry Holland.