Debenhams toasts record profits

High-street chain Debenhams, who have a Dublin store, toasted record full-year profits today but said its sales growth had slowed in recent weeks.

High-street chain Debenhams, who have a Dublin store, toasted record full-year profits today but said its sales growth had slowed in recent weeks.

Strong sales across the retailer’s 97 stores pushed pre-tax profits to £146.1m in the year to September 1, 13% ahead of the previous 12 months.

Chief executive Belinda Earl said Debenhams’ range of exclusive and designer clothing brands meant the chain had taken market share from its rivals.

But while total sales in the year rose 15% to £1.6bn, with like-for-like growth of 8%, Ms Earl said, there had since been a downturn.

Like-for-like growth since the start of the current financial year had slowed to 3.4%, with a ‘‘disappointing’’ past two weeks.

Ms Earl said Debenhams had not taken its sale prices down by as much as usual, but said the drop could reflect a fall in consumer confidence.

She added: ‘‘We are in a strong position with limited exposure to tourism and we are well spread geographically.

‘‘We are confident that our strategy is robust and flexible enough to allow us to outperform the market.’’

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