Department store group Debenhams published its interim results for 26 weeks ended 1st March 2008. For the 26 weeks ended 1 March 2008, gross transaction value grew by £15.8 million to £1,303.6 million. This increase of 1.2% broadly corresponds to new space growth during the period. Like-for-like sales fell by 0.7% during the half, reflecting the challenging trading conditions across the retail sector, particularly in January and February.
Debenham’s trading broadly followed the market conditions across the retail sector deteriorated for the first half with a strong September giving way to weaker conditions in October and November. Christmas trading and the January sale provided a fillip to the high street but conditions softened again in the remainder of January and February. Despite this environment, Debenhams has taken market share in all of the major clothing categories. In particular the market share lost last year in menswear due to ranging problems have been regained as the action taken to address this issue became effective.
Debenhams features womenswear, menswear, homeware and health and beauty. The company has a total of 135 department stores in the UK and has 39 international franchise stores in 15 countries and an online store. Six new stores were opened during the first half, and five department stores are expected to open in 2008/9, including the flagship store at the Westfield London development at White City. This will open towards the end of 2008.