January snow hits Debenhams profits

Suzie Neuwirth

British retailer Debenhams announced today that its half year group operating profits were down 5.5 per cent, due to poor returns in its domestic market.

The company posted a 6.8 per cent decrease in UK operating profit, dropping to £104.8m for the 26 weeks to 2 March 2013, compared to £112.5m in the same period the previous year. This decline was attributed to the January snow during the normally lucrative winter sales.

However, international operating profits rose 1.3 per cent up to £22.7m, thanks to growing consumer confidence in Denmark.

Group sales grew 3.1 per cent over the period.

“We made progress during the first half although snow in late January meant we did not achieve the profit outcome we had expected,” said chief executive Michael Sharp.

“We expect to make further progress in the second half despite consumer sentiment remaining weak and challenging market conditions.”