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Multichannel sales up by more than 70% at Debenhams

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Multichannel sales rose by more than two-thirds at department store chain Debenhams in its latest financial year, the retailer reported today.

In a trading update to the London Stock Exchange the company said such sales, which include online, in-store ordering, and mobile transactions – rose by 71.9%, excluding VAT in the 52 weeks to August 27.

The figures came as Debenhams reported a 0.3% fall in like-for-like sales for the year, excluding VAT. When VAT was included like-for-like sales were up by 1.2% and total sales by 2.9%.

In the final eight weeks of the year, gross sales rose by 2.1% and like-for-like sales by 1.7%, including VAT, and by 0.4% excluding VAT.

Gross sales were up by 4.5% when the full 53-week period of the 2010/2011 financial year was measured against last year.

Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp said headline pre-tax profits were expected to come in ahead of forecasts for the year.

He said: “Looking forward, although we remain cautious about the strength of consumer confidence and the timing of an economic recovery, we will be focusing on the retail basics of giving our customers great products in an inspirational shopping environment, whether in our stores or through one of our multichannel access points. We are therefore confident that we can continue to make progress over the coming year.”

Debenhams said it was investing in its high street outlets, with the refurbishment of six stores now underway and plans to refit its Oxford Street flagship store in place for 2013. The retailer is also moving to a purpose-built head office in 2013.

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