Debenhams share price jumps at the open as it reveals increase sales over Christmas

 
Caitlin Morrison
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Christmas Shoppers Hunt For Gifts In Bath
Debenhams had a strong trading period over Christmas (Source: Getty)

Shares in Debenhams rose over three per cent at the open, as the department store revealed an improvement in sales over the Christmas period.

The figures

Like-for-like sales were up five per cent in the seven weeks to 7 January, beating expectations.

Debenhams attributed the improvement to beauty and gift sales, which took the non-clothing sales mix to 57 per cent during the period.

The retailer reported gross transaction value was also up five per cent.

Why it's interesting

Today's results will come as a boon to investors, after Debenhams endured a challenging year in which it was forced to place its Irish business into examinership following years of losses, and faced serious questions over its pension scheme deficit.

Debenhams also caught flak in the wake of the Brexit vote - analysts at Ivestec cut its share price target due to foreign exchange concerns, and Canadian bank RBC highlighted the company as one of the retailers that would be hardest hit by the vote to exit the EU.

What Debenhams said

"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," said Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher.

"The resilience of Debenhams' differentiated offer is beginning to show through, with the growth we have driven in beauty and gifting. It's encouraging to see that the service improvements we have made helped us to deliver strong multi-channel sales growth."

He added: "There is a lot more we can do to build from this base and I'm looking forward to providing an update on our plans for Debenhams alongside our interim results in April."

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