LONDON Jan 8 Debenhams, Britain's No. 2
department store group, posted record Christmas sales, helped by
its breadth of products, appeal to a wide range of customers and
The group said on Tuesday sales at stores open over a year,
rose 5.0 percent in the five weeks to Jan. 5.
Debenhams said in the 18 weeks to Jan. 5 period, a big chunk
of the firm's fiscal first half, like-for-like sales rose 2.9
That compares to analysts' consensus forecast for the first
half to end-February of an increase of 2 percent.
Online sales over the 18 weeks jumped 39 percent.
The firm said there was some increase in its promotional
activity in the run-up to Christmas.
As a result, it now expects gross margin for the 2012-13
year to be 10 basis points higher than last year rather than 20
basis points previously guided.
Many store groups are finding the going tough as consumers
fret over job security and a squeeze on incomes.
Debenhams has generally bucked the gloomy trend, also helped
by its multiple routes to market and well received marketing