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Trading statements

Debenhams warning if volatility continues

27 June 2017 07:21

Debenhams has warned that pre-tax profits for the year could be towards the lower end of forecasts if current market volatility continued.

Group like-for-like sales fell by 0.9% in the 15 weeks to 17 June but were up 1.8% in 41 weeks to 17 June.

Constant currency like-for-like sales for the 15 week period were down 2.4% and down 0.7% for the 41 weeks.

Digital sales were up 7.9% for the 15 weeks and by 12.6% for the 41 weeks.

The group said: "We currently anticipate that 2017 profit before tax will be within the range of market expectations.

"However, should current market volatility continue, the outcome could be towards the lower end of the current range.

"The UK trading environment has been more volatile in the second half of our trading year. However, our targeted destination categories of Beauty, Accessories and Food & Drink have helped to mitigate the impact of a weaker clothing market. With 13 new food offers in the period, food sales have risen 5%."

Chief executive Sergio Bucher said: "We are making progress in implementing our exciting and ambitious new strategy, Debenhams Redesigned, which will make us the destination for Social Shopping. We have already started to deliver changes that will improve service for our customers and simplify and focus our operations.

"As industry data has confirmed, May was a tough month for retailers and we continue to see volatility in trading week to week.

"As a result we are focused on delivering cost control and self-help through our 'Fix the Basics' plan. We continue to build good foundations for longer term growth at Debenhams by becoming a Destination, Digital and Different."

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