LFL sales growth of 5% over Christmas period welcomed by investors
Shares in Debenhams Plc rose 5% on Thursday morning as the department store chain released strong Christmas sales figures driven by Beauty and gift sales.
For the year, Group sales rose 3.5%, with a more modest increase of 0.5% on a constant currency basis. This increased during the Christmas period to +5% and +1.7% respectively.
Online sales were particularly impressive, increasing 13.9% during the year, and 25% over two years. During Christmas, online sales were up 17%.
Debenhams say its progress is due to increasing non-clothing sales and maintaining market share in a competitive clothing market:
"We have made further progress in growing non-clothing categories in line with our strategy. Beauty and Gift sales grew strongly to take the non-clothing sales mix in this period to 57%...
...We have maintained market share in a competitive clothing market whilst continuing to reduce the number of clothing options as well as the level of discounts, with stocks down 7% year on year."
Debenhams has been undertaken a store space optimisation programme, and has reportedly now completed 75% of the plan, rolling out nine food service offers and partnerships with James Martin Kitchen, and Fulham Shore's Franco Manca.
CEO Sergio Bucher said the resilience of Debenhams' differentiated offer was showing through, with growth driven by beauty and gifting:
"I'm pleased with the performance we have achieved in the key trading weeks of Black Friday and over the Christmas peak, given the challenges in the broader environment and the strong performance last year...
It's encouraging to see that the service improvements we have made helped us to deliver strong multi-channel sales growth."