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Debenhams reports fast online growth in the full year

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Debenhams today reported fast online growth in its latest financial year.

Online sales reached £430.7m in the year to August 30, 17.6% more than last year. They accounted for 15.3% of group sales during the year, up from 13.2% in the previous year, while online earnings before interest, tax and asset writedowns grew by 20.5%. Some 38% of online sales came via mobile devices, with visits from such devices up by 58%. In all, visits to Debenhams.com grew by 15% to 276m.

The update came as the department store group reported total full-year sales of £2.3bn, 1.3% up on the same time last year. Like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, were 1% up on last year. UK sales of £1.9bn were 0.3% up on last year, while international sales of £410.6n were 6.3% up.

But pre-tax profits of £105.8m were 20.6% down on the same time last year.

Michael Sharp, chief executive, said multichannel had been a priority for the business as it looks to sell more profitably. “Developing a more convenient and competitive online fulfillment offer has been a key priority and we enter this year’s peak trading period with a much improved range of delivery options,” he said. “We expect further benefits to accrue from these priorities going forward.”

Those improved delivery options, introduced ahead of Christmas, include next day click and collect, 10pm cut off for next-day home delivery, evening, weekend and nominated day delivery. Demand for click and collect services grew to account for 22.3% of all online orders, from 7.4% last year.

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