The group yesterday reported a 24.5% annualised drop in pre-tax profit for the six months to the beginning of March, to £85.2m (€103.2m).
In its non-UK, international business — largely comprising its operations here and in Denmark — gross sales growth of 6.8% was achieved. While its Danish stores performed well, “difficult trading conditions in Ireland resulted in a significant decline in gross margin, which impacted profitability”.
Updated annual accounts for Debenhams’ Irish business blamed the highly promotional market in the run-up to Christmas for going into the red last year, with total pre-tax losses of €6.97m.
Debenhams Retail (Ireland) Ltd’s revenues dipped marginally from €162.5m to €162.1m in the year to the end of last August.
A spokesperson said: “The results for Debenhams Ireland reflect the difficult conditions in the Irish retail market during 2013, and in particular the highly promotional market in the run-up to Christmas. This diluted the success of our own planned promotions, which are a traditional strength for Debenhams.”
The pre-tax loss follows a pre-tax profit of €7.8m in 2012 — a negative swing of €14.77m. The firm last year paid a dividend of €54.8m to its parent.