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Debenhams like-for-like sales up 3.1% in H1 FY'13
Apr '13
Debenhams plc, the leading international, multi-channel brand, announced half year results for the 26 weeks to 2 March 2013.
Financial headlines
-Gross transaction value up 3.5%
UK up 3.9%
International up 1.6%
-Group like-for-like sales up 3.1%
-Group gross margin down 20bps
-Profit before tax down 5.4% at £120.3m
-Earnings per share up 2.7% to 7.6p
-Interim dividend of 1.0p per share
-Long-term share buyback programme ongoing
Operational headlines
-Further progress against the four pillars of our strategy to build a leading international, multi-channel brand, supported by disciplined investment in key areas
-Market share gains achieved in clothing and non-clothing product categories
-Strong multi-channel growth with online sales up 46%, now 12.7% of sales
-Continued investment in store modernisations delivering good returns, transformation of Oxford Street into international flagship store on plan
-First Christmas brand advertising campaign for six years achieved our highest ever levels of brand awareness
-New Designers at Debenhams announced: tailor Patrick Grant for menswear and milliner Stephen Jones for women's accessories
 We made progress in the first half of the year although snow in the UK during January meant we did not achieve our expected profit before tax outcome.  Gross transaction value of £1,535.1 million was 3.5% higher than last year.  Like-for-like sales grew for the fourth consecutive half, increasing by 3.1%.  We saw positive momentum in market share in key categories, a clear sign of customers' preferences for our brand and product offer.  
Our online growth of 46.2% was well ahead of the market with mobile remaining the fastest growing channel.  The 32 stores modernised since 2010 continue to generate good returns and the transformation of Oxford Street into our international flagship is on plan.  Our innovative strategies were recognised with awards for Retail Technology Initiative of the Year and International Growth Initiative of the Year at the Oracle Retail Week Awards 2013. 
UK summary
The market was challenging and competitive in the UK throughout the first half.  The high street was highly promotional during the peak Christmas period and we traded the business accordingly.  We recorded our highest ever December sales with like-for-like sales up by 5.0%, aided by our first Christmas brand marketing campaign for six years.  

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