Debenhams eyeing web sales growth

DEBENHAMS will issue its first results under new boss Michael Sharp tomorrow with an added emphasis expected to be placed on online growth.

The figures for the fourth quarter come as UK retailers face headwinds as household budgets are squeezed.

Analysts are expecting the chain to focus on its international growth – particularly at its Danish Magasin du Nord operation – as well as a move towards online sales.

Keith Bowman, equities analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “Michael Sharp is likely to see existing growth strategies reiterated.

“A drive online may lead the way, while store optimisation and international growth still provide potential.”

In the third quarter Debenhams saw like-for-like sales excluding VAT rising by 1.5 per cent, with online and mobile sales contributing to the lift.

Other retailers updating the market this week include Ocado today and JD Sports Fashion on Wednesday.

The group has been pushing its online delivery service by setting up a “virtual shop window” at London’s One New Change shopping centre by St Paul’s Cathedral with feature images and barcodes of Ocado’s most popular items.

Customers will be able to scan items, add them to their basket and book a delivery date and time using the On The Go smartphone app.

Meanwhile JD Sports could reveal more details about its efforts to expand in France, having announced the plan last month.