Tuesday 20 March 2018

Debenhams profit beats estimates

Debenhams: beating estimates. Photo: Getty Images
Debenhams: beating estimates. Photo: Getty Images

Sarah Shannon

UK department store Debenhams said it expects "broadly neutral" trading conditions after first-half profit beat analysts’ estimates, helped by an increased emphasis on own-label designer fashions such as H! by Henry Holland.

So-called headline pretax profit increased to £123.6m in the 26 weeks ended February 27, beating estimates, the retailer said today in a statement.

Net income fell to £80.1m from £81.2m a year earlier, after a higher taxation charge.

“Gross margin performance was much stronger than expected,” said Kate Calvert, an analyst at Shore Capital with a “buy” rating on the stock. She said pretax profit was 7pc ahead of analysts’ estimates, excluding one-time items.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 0.3pc in the 31 weeks to April 3, the same pace as in its first half.

Larger competitor Marks & Spencer said last week that sales rose 5.1pc in the previous quarter, as customers responded to its seasonal fashions.

Debenhams has been converting floor space from less-profitable concessions to its own fashion and homeware ranges to boost profitability.

Debenham’s fell 0.9p, or 1.2pc, to 77.5p in London trading. The shares have risen less than 1pc this year.


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