Store’s bid to recover from profit slump

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A new promotional strategy has boosted Debenhams as it looks to recover from a 24 per cent slump in profits caused by disastrous Christmas trading.

The department store chain, which has 245 shops in 28 countries, said it was now selling more products at full price after overhauling its calendar of promotions, with its summer sale starting two weeks later this year.

Operating profits in the six months to August 30 rose nearly 3 per cent but the turnaround was not enough to prevent the retailer reporting a drop in bottom-line profits of 24 per cent to £105.8m for the financial year.

Admitting recently that 10 per cent of its UK space was under-performing, the chain has invited Sports Direct, Mothercare, Monsoon and Costa into its stores as part of a trial that could lead to the arrival of a number of other leading brands.

It said there were encouraging early signs from the trial, which will be extended to further stores before Christmas.

The company has also launched new delivery options in time for the festive period, with next-day click and collect and a 10pm cut-off for next-day delivery.

UK operating profit for the year fell by 24.3 per cent to £96.3m due to the impact of lower than expected sales before Christmas, which resulted in high levels of stock being sold at a greater discount in the January sales.