Debenhams set to come in from the cold

 

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The Independent Online

Debenhams is on track to avoid a repeat of the miserable Christmas it endured last year despite announcing a 24 per cent fall in profits to £105.8m for the year to the end of  August.

A profit warning and the abrupt resignation of the finance boss Simon Herrick capped a woeful festive season last time, not helped by warm winter weather.

But a rise in operating profit during the spring-summer second half of its financial year reassured the City of the department store chain’s turnaround strategy. The shares rose 0.6p to 63.4p – good news for the Sports Direct billionaire Mike Ashley, who has an 11 per cent stake.

 

Chief executive Michael Sharp said: “We achieved higher full-price sales and fewer days on promotion as a result of greater clarity on our promotional calendar, resulting in an improved gross margin.”

The retailer hopes cutting back on a swathe of promotions to focus on shorter, targeted discounts – and the £25m revamp of its Oxford Street store in London will spur festive sales.

The retailer said that its Sports Direct, Costa Coffee, Monsoon and Mothercare concessions were doing well.

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