Debenhams like-for-like sales up

Debenhams reports a good performance in the 18 weeks to 7 January with group gross transaction value up 3.7% and like-for-like sales as reported up by 3.5%.

Group like-for-like sales in constant currency rose by 0.5%, including UK LFL +1.0%.

Other highlights:

- Online sales up 13.9%, with two year growth of over 25%

- Gross margin within FY17 guidance of (25bps) to +25bps, sales mix continues to be dilutive

- Good performance in the 7 week Christmas period to 7 January with LFL sales up 5.0% and up 1.7% in constant currency and online sales +17.0%

Chief executive Sergio Bucher 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. 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.

"I witnessed the hard work of the executive team and all our colleagues, who made sure that we were able to deliver a fantastic service for our customers over such a busy period, complementing the great choice of products and brands that we have to offer. 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."