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Debenhams sees good growth in international businesses

Sep '12
Debenhams plc, the leading international, multi-channel brand, announces a trading update for the 52 weeks to 1 September 2012 ahead of its full year results on 25 October 2012. 

Key highlights

•     Strong like-for-like sales growth and progression throughout the year in challenging markets
•     Modernised stores performing well
•     Market share gains in womenswear and other key categories
•     Online sales up 40%
•     Good growth in international businesses
•     Profit before tax for year expected to be ahead of last year, in line with current market expectations
•     Further debt reduction, initial £20m share buy-back completed by year end
Michael Sharp, Chief Executive of Debenhams, said:
"I am delighted with our strong performance and the progress we have made in 2012.  To deliver like-for-like sales growth in these extremely challenging market conditions is highly creditable and we achieved this result by relentlessly focusing on our customers. 
"This performance is clear confirmation that our strategy to build a leading international, multi-channel brand is beginning to work.  It is also evidence of the calibre of the team charged with delivering this strategy and I would like to offer my sincere thanks for the hard work of all 30,000 employees during the year.  We do not anticipate a significant change in the economic environment in the near future but we expect to continue to make progress in 2013."
“Sales performance across the Group has been strong for the 52 weeks to 1 September 2012.”
We achieved consistent progression in like-for-like sales driven by a number of components of the four pillars of our strategy, including:
 1.    Focusing on UK retail
•     Good performance from modernised stores.  Stores modernised for one year are achieving a sales uplift of c.6% during the first year; stores completed for two years are achieving a further uplift c.1.5% during the second year.   
•     The performance of uninvested core stores has improved following the introduction of the programme to reinforce good basic retailing.
2.    Delivering a compelling customer proposition
•     We have grown or maintained market share in all key categories.  Womenswear share increased in very difficult season, up by 20 basis points in 12 weeks to 5 August 2012 
•     Improvements to marketing activities under our "Life Made Fabulous" theme and increased marketing spend are driving sales and improving perceptions about the brand.

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