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Debenhams to expand after profits surge

Debenhams is to step up its expansion overseas and online after delivering an uplift in annual profits, although the retailer remains gloomy about UK consumer spending.

The department store chain is to increase its capital expenditure by 14 per cent to £135m this year, including spending on systems, modernising its UK stores and relocating the head office in London.

Michael Sharp, the chief executive of Debenhams, said: "It is about investing for future growth."

Debenhams – which has 71 franchise shops in 26 countries – now intends to have a total of 150 stores overseas, up from 130 previously, over the next five years. Mr Sharp said this reflects its "confidence in growing our international business", citing opportunities in the Middle East and Asia.