Debenhams reassures over current trading

Debenhams countered fears over the group’s financial health today by reporting a rise in sales for the past 10 weeks.

In a trading statement brought forward from July 3, the department store chain said like-for-like sales rose 1% in the period since April 15.

Debenhams, which was saddled with debt after being floated by private equity owners in May 2006, also said it remained highly cash generative, with net debt at the year end expected to be in-line with market estimates.

Yesterday, shares hit a record low amid fears over the group’s financial position. It followed an 18% fall on Friday amid analyst concerns that Debenhams could breach banking covenants and cut its dividend to save cash.

Chief executive Rob Templeman said: “In the light of the tough trading environment across the whole UK sector, we are pleased with the customer response to our new ranges, and as a result, our improving sales performance for the period.”

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