Debenhams in Jubilee mood

Kasmira Jefford
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DEBENHAMS chief executive Michael Sharp said the retailer would benefit from the “feel good” factor the Jubilee weekend would bring but remained cautious of the effect of the Olympics on the retailer, as it reported a rise in profits.

“I know, because it comes along every four years, that European football distracts spending into televisions, barbeques and beer, what I don’t know is the impact the Olympics will have,” Sharp said.

“However, I know that there are going to be 11m people visiting the UK and that it might be their first visit to Debenhams.”

His comments came as the group reported its half year results for the 26 weeks to 3 March 2012, which showed profits up 1.4 per cent at £127.1m – ahead of expectations.

Sharp said the group had enjoyed a strong performance in menswear, footwear and health and beauty, where it continued to gain market share. Womenswear suffered a fall in market share of 0.1 per cent after the group worked to replace collapsed concessions Jane Norman and La Senza with ranges from the Designers at Debenhams collection.

The group, which has 169 stores in the UK, Republic of Ireland and Denmark, also announced it would spend £20m buying its stock over the next six months.