Business Irish

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Debenhams beats interim forecasts

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

British department store operator Debenhams said its business in Ireland remains challenging, as the wider group reported better than expected figures for the first half of its financial year.

Pre-tax profit at the group, Britain's second biggest department store chain after Marks & Spencer, rose 4.3pc to £89m (€123.7m). That was higher than the £84m it expected to make. Shares in the retailer soared over 6pc.

It said that group sales rose 1.3pc on a like-for-like basis, with gross transaction value 2.3pc higher at £1.6bn (€2.2bn) in the 26 weeks to the end of February.

Debenhams added that its performance had been helped by refocusing its promotional strategy and its online service.

"The continued refocusing of our promotional strategy delivered a strong increase in full price sales, an improvement in value perception and enabled us to end the half with an improved stock position," said chief executive Michael Sharp.

Debenhams has 11 stores in Ireland, but stressed the operation is a small part of the overall group.

Its Irish arm made a €6.2m operating loss in the 12 months to the end of last August as it struggled in a the post-bust environment.

That was smaller than the €7m Debenhams lost in Ireland during the previous 12 month period. Its revenue here edged slightly higher in its last financial year to €163.6m.

Analysts were mostly positive about yesterday's interim results.

Irish Independent

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