Debenhams acts as weather vane

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All eyes will be looking to see whether trading in the retail sector is suffering a slowdown when Debenhams unveils preliminary results on Tuesday; pre-tax profits of £125m-£135m are expected. The department store chain's shares dipped last week on analysts' concerns that retailers could soon feel the impact of the global financial credit crunch. Its high gearing raised especial concern. But sales of clothing lines are expected to be up on last year.