Debenhams first half profit falls by a quarter

LONDON, April 15 Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:14am EDT

LONDON, April 15 (Reuters) - Debenhams, Britain's second largest department store group, said it was confident improvements it was making to its business would deliver some cheer for investors, as it posted a 24.5 percent fall in first half profit.

The company, which has 240 stores in 29 countries, said on Tuesday group pretax profit for the 26 weeks to March 1 was 85.2 million pounds ($142.58 million), down on the 112.8 million pounds posted a year ago.

The fall was in line with guidance given in a December profit warning when the firm said its margins had been hit by heavy discounting that nonetheless failed to spark a late surge in festive spending.

($1 = 0.5976 British Pounds) (Reporting by Neil Maidment; editing by Kate Holton)

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