LONDON, June 20 Britain's No. 2 department store
chain Debenhams said underlying sales rose slightly in
its latest trading period, as it shifted its strategy to have
fewer days on promotion.
The company, which trails John Lewis in annual
sales, said on Friday sales at stores open over a year rose 0.7
percent in the 14 weeks to June 7.
Debenhams' strategy is to refocus promotional activity to
deliver a higher level of full price sales.
Also this year its summer Sale is starting two weeks later
than last year, on June 26.
Debenhams maintained its margin guidance for the full year.
First half gross margin fell 100 basis points and in April
the firm guided for the full-year to be down 50-70 basis points.
Debenhams has endured a tough 12 months, issuing its second
profit warning in less than a year in December and losing its
finance chief after a long-held strategy of pushing promotions
failed to boost its crucial Christmas sales.
In April the 200-year-old firm reported first half profit
down by a quarter and Chief Executive Michael Sharp said he
would reduce promotions, make its online business more
competitive with more delivery options, redeploy excess store
space and speed up international growth.
On Friday it said trials of new concessions including Sports
Direct and Costa coffee would start before the
The firm also said it was commencing a debt investor
roadshow in relation to a 200 million pounds ($341
million)seven-year bond issue.
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Karolin Schaps)