Debenhams full year profits slump 10.4% to £101.7m


Debenhams - Credit: PA

Debenhams has reported a slump in full year profits, laying bare the challenge facing new boss Sergio Bucher.

The department store chain said pre-tax profit fell 10.4% to £101.7m in the 52 weeks to August 27. On a 53-week basis, profits stood at £105.8m.

Like-for-like sales edged up 0.7% while total sales rose 1.3% to £2.9bn.

The retailer said Mr Bucher, a former Amazon fashion chief who took up his position 10 days ago, will update the market on his longer term plans for the next phase of Debenhams' development in the spring.

Chairman Sir Ian Cheshire said: 'We have delivered profits in line with market expectations, reflecting a strong performance over peak followed by a tougher second half trading environment.

'Our strategy to rebalance the business towards non-clothing has supported our performance, with strong progress in beauty, gifting and food.'

In June, Debenhams warned that demand for clothes had been weak amid 'uncertain trading conditions'.

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Scott Ransley, analyst at Stifel, said: 'Debenhams' exposure to non-clothing categories such as beauty, gifts and food has rendered the top line more stable than at some of the mainstream clothing competitors.

'Lower competitive pressure on occasion wear and a refreshed line-up of Designer at Debenhams ranges including Jasper Conran, Savannah Miller and Patrick Grant also support aspirational demand.'