Debenhams' 7% profit fall

Debenhams is likely to be the latest high-street name to blame the prolonged winter for heavy clothing discounts, following its shock profit warning last month.

The department store chain blamed two weeks of heavy snow for lowering annual profit expectations in early March and the mercury has stayed below seasonal norms since then.

Marks & Spencer last week warned of a "dramatic" increase in high-street price cuts as consumers shun summer clothes.

Debenhams has pointed towards a 7 per cent fall in pre-tax profit to £120m over the half-year to March. Its chief executive Michael Sharp will strike a more upbeat tone about its latest TV campaign that launches tomorrow. The "Life Made Fabulous" advertisement will feature more of its exclusive designers, including John Rocha, Sadie Frost and Jemima French. Milliner Stephen Jones will be making his first appearance.

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