Debenhams’ profits tumble
PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:06 19 April 2018
Debenhams, which has a branch in Welwyn Garden City, blames the ‘Beast from the East’ for a dramatic fall in profits.
The company today announced an 84.6 per cent drop in pre-tax profits in its most recent half-year results.
Like-for-like sales have declined by 2.2 per cent, although there has been 9.7 per cent online growth.
The chain has cited several possible causes including aggressive competitors’ sales prices after a poor Christmas, and extreme weather after the “Beast from the East” storms shut down nearly 100 stores during its new season launch.
In April last year, Debenhams announced the possibility of closing down ten stores.
A spokesperson said at the time: “It can’t be confirmed if the Welwyn Garden City store will be closed just yet but if a store is performing badly we would potentially close it down.”
The Welwyn Hatfield Times approached Debenhams for an update on this in the light of today’s announcement, but the spokesperson said: “We have no announcements to make on any store closures in our estate.”
Speaking about the chain overall, Debenhams CEO Sergio Bucher said today:
“It has not been an easy first half and the extreme weather in the final week of the half had a material impact on our results.
“But I am hugely encouraged by the progress we are making to transform Debenhams for our customers.
“Our digital growth continues to outpace the market while our store in Stevenage was recently named best new store at the Retail Week Awards.
“We are holding share in a difficult fashion market, and in other categories such as furniture, exciting new partnerships have the potential to transform our offer.
“We approach the remainder of the year mindful of the very challenging market conditions, but with confidence that we have a strong team and the right plan to navigate them and return Debenhams to profitable growth.”