Department store Debenhams has reported a total sales increase of 3.9 per cent for the 16 weeks to June 23 2012. In an interim management statement published this morning, the group announced a like-for-like sales increase of three per cent, which it has attributed to consumer interest around key events such as Easter, Mother’s Day, the Diamond Jubilee and the Euro 2012 Championships.
The good news continued for its online sales, which has also seen a significant rise, growing 34.9 per cent over the period, an increase of 40.2 per cent in the year-to-date, a boost that has seen the retailer increase its visitor numbers to its site by 40 per cent. This has resulted in Debenhams becoming the eleventh biggest UK online retailer by traffic volume, according to IMRG Experian Hitwise Hot Shops List, up from thirteenth last year.
The department store continues to have success through multi-channel, with mobile continuing to be the fastest growing channel, accounting for some 30 per cent of its website traffic, which has been helped by the announcement earlier this month that the retailer has rolled out free Wi-fi across all 167 stores in the UK.
Michael Sharp, Debenhams CEO, welcomed the results, saying: “Our like-for-like growth really shows that if you communicate and deliver great value and great products then customers will shop with you. I am really pleased with the results.
“Going forward there is little sign of a recovery in consumer confidence. So our focus will be the remorseless execution of the four pillars strategy to build a leading international, multi-channel brand which we believe will bring success irrespective of the wider economy.”
During the period Debenhams has shown its commitment to supporting the high street, with nine modernisations completed in Middlesborough, Preston, Harrow, Luton, Bournemouth, Colchester, Reading and Harrogate this month, and Chester is due to re-launch on July 6. In addition, work has also started on nine more namely, Bedford, Carlisle, Sutton, Hull, Plymouth, Salisbury, Southend, Worthing and Hanley (Stoke on Trent), which will all finished by the end of September. Plus the retailer’s flagship on Oxford Street is also going through a modernisation, both inside and out, which should be finished by October 2013.
As well as committing to the UK, the retailer has maintain its focus on international expansion, and opened two new franchise stores during its second half bringing the total number of stores to 68 with one further store due to open in the remainder of this year and eight more in the following year.
The board of Debenhams plc also announced today a Directorate change as non-executive Director Adam Crozier is to step down from his role on September 1, 2012. Dennis Millard will succeed Crozier, who has worked for the company since May 2006, as Chairman of the remuneration committee while Mark Rolfe will in turn succeed Mr. Millard as Chairman of the audit committee.