Shares in Debenhams rise as retailer boasts 4.3% increase in pre-tax profits

16th April 2015


Shares in Debenhams jumped almost 5% following its announcement that pre-tax profits at the group rose 4.3% to £88.9m in the six months to end of February.

On Thursday the high street stalwart announced that group like-for-like sales increased by 1.3% and that online sales had surged by 12.7% over the period.

The firm also managed to reduce its net debt by £62.4m to £297.3m. By 09:15 stock in the FTSE 250 listed retailer had moved 3.66p higher to 83.26p.

Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp cited the improvement of its multi‐channel offer and the successful introduction of its premium delivery service as having helped to boost the firm’s results.

He added that the “continued refocusing” of its promotional strategy delivered a strong increase in full price sales and that an improvement in “value perception” had enabled it to end the period with an improved stock position.

The past half-year period has witnessed a marked turnaround in the company’s share price performance, with its stock up 32% over the period, against a 2% fall over 12 months – currently the broker consensus towards the shares is a ‘hold’.

Sharp said: “Overall we delivered a good first half performance despite a difficult clothing season in Autumn and we are on track to achieve full year expectations.

“Looking forward, our customers tell us they are feeling a little more optimistic about the economic outlook, but they remain cautious. Accordingly we are continuing to plan prudently in the near term, while remaining focused on our strategic priorities, and are continuing to invest to ensure that our business is well‐positioned to drive sustainable growth in the longer term.”

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