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Retail   Debenhams cut its level of discounts

Debenhams beats expectations for Christmas trading

DebenhamsDebenhams reported better than expected Christmas trading, with like-for-like sales at the department store group strengthening into January and profit margins remaining in line with targets.

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READ MORE Debenhams underlying pre-tax profit increased 0.5%

Group LFL sales in the 18 weeks to 7 January, which represents the first quarter and a half of its financial year, rose 3.5% at the reported level, with the latter seven weeks of the period seeing LFL sales increase 5.0%, or 1.7% in constant currency.

As ex-Amazon man Sergio Bucher beds down as chief executive, online sales have already become a crucial element, up 13.9% across the whole quarter and up 17.0% over the Christmas period as an increasing amount of people buy their festive gifts from the comfort of their sofa.

Debenhams cut its level of discounts with a 2% improvement in full price sell-through and reduced stocks levels 7% by cutting the number of clothing options, which will mean gross margin remained within the full year guidance of -25 basis points to +25bps.

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