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Focus on multichannel pays off for Debenhams

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Debenhams has reported a robust trading performance for the third quarter of its financial year, with multichannel services hailed as the main catalyst for sales improvement. Online, in-store ordering,

and mobile sales were up by 77% (excluding VAT) over the previous year for the 43 week period.

The department store group’s interim management statement, released on June 30, shows that Debenhams’ iPhone app has recently passed the 500,000 download mark, and has already recorded its first £1m in sales. The recently launched Nokia and Android apps are also proving popular, while the retailer says its Beauty Club app has been embraced by existing customers and new adopters alike.

Debenhams CEO Rob Templeman, said: “We are continuing to make progress despite significant headwinds in the sector and are pleased with the performance of the business in the year so far. Looking forward, we remain cautious about the consumer environment and will continue to focus on growing cash margin through our self-help strategy of investing in our store portfolio, developing a seamless multichannel business and managing our supply chain effectively.”

Own-bought product ranges have performed well for Debenhams in store and online with new names including Principles by Ben de Lisi and H! by Henry Holland proving popular. Edition, the latest Designers at Debenhams concept featuring Jonathan Saunders, Preen and Jonathan Kelsey, were also well

received. Health and beauty has seen strong trading, both in stores and online, with a number of new brands added during the period. Stock levels remain firmly under control across the business, said Debenhams.

Like-for-like sales excluding VAT were up 1.5% year-on-year for the period from February 26 to June 25 2011.

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