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Debenhams Reports Profits Rise

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By Rebecca Burn-Callander Thursday, 20 October 2011

If ever there was proof that Brits are spurning flighty fashion and entering austerity mode, its today’s news that Debenhams’ profits and sales are up nearly 10% on last year.

The department store has been the staple source of quality, affordable fashion since the 18th century (over 100 years before Michael Marks and Thomas Spencer launched their illustrious joint venture). With its Blue Cross Sales and ‘Rocha John Rocha’, Debenhams is ever the place to go for a sturdy pair of bargain bloomers and a saucy satin evening dress for under £100.

Latest figures show that pre-tax profits at the department chain have hit £166.1m over the 53 weeks ending September 3. Like-for-like sales have also seen a slight boost, up one percentage point on 2010 (after VAT, however, the figure is back in the red at -0.3%). Not bad going in an industry plagued by rising commodity prices (the cost of cotton hit a 150-year high in February this year) and depressed consumer spending.

Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp was jubilant: ‘We have demonstrated the resilience of the department store model by trading well in a challenging market,’ he said. However, knowing how the fates of high street retailers can turn on a sixpence, he added that he intends to ‘remain cautious about the strength of consumer confidence over the next 12 months.’ Very wise, sir.

The announcement comes just as the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reveals that retail sales are on the (slight) up. Retail volumes in September grew 0.6% month-on-month. Department stores in general saw an uplift (although John Lewis’ ‘never knowingly undersold’ pledge cost the firm £9m), with growth at 1.4% in the sector. This growth has mostly been driven by back-to-school and university purchases, but also by strong music and video game sales (thank you, Tinie Tempah and Rage).

Despite the current financial uncertainty, Debenhams’ expansion plans are bullish. It currently boasts a portfolio of 169 stores across the UK and the Irish Republic. It also has a foothold in Denmark, where the brand trades as Magasin du Nord, the name of the Danish retailer it acquired in 2009. The chain now intends to open at least nine new stores, creating 4,500 new jobs in the process, and will also revamp all its dog-eared outlets over the next few years. The first of these shiny new department stores will open in Chesterfield by 2013. In the latter noughteenies, 30 more openings are mooted.

MT

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It could just be my imagination, but I'm sure our local Debenhams has an almost-perpetual sale on.

Which probably fools quite a few people (the savvy investors of yesteryear) into thinking they are getting a bargain.

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I just bought a pair of shorts from them for £9.98... delivered.

Bit cold for shorts

I used to have a gold Debenhams card, do they still have gold card holders lounges? lol

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Used to like Debenhams, but stopped shopping there after they refused to allow me to return a faulty item. The vindictive side of me was disappointed to see they had released good results :lol:

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Used to like Debenhams, but stopped shopping there after they refused to allow me to return a faulty item. The vindictive side of me was disappointed to see they had released good results :lol:

The silent churner.......if a service provider does not live up to your expectations, the worse damage you can do to them is ceasing to use them again, taking your business elsewhere, and even worse for them would be spreading the word to those that trust what you have to say as being correct. ;)

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The department store has been the staple source of quality, affordable fashion since the 18th century

Affordable? I tend not to see Debenhams in that light. Am I wrong?

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Affordable? I tend not to see Debenhams in that light. Am I wrong?

No, Debenhams are just like a slightly watered down version of House of Fraser. Their clothing is still very expensive branded stuff compared to what you can get elsewhere. Last summer I was looking for a couple of polo shirts. £25 for a shirt in Debenhams, a comparable item was finally sourced from Primark for £6 a go.

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The silent churner.......if a service provider does not live up to your expectations, the worse damage you can do to them is ceasing to use them again, taking your business elsewhere, and even worse for them would be spreading the word to those that trust what you have to say as being correct. ;)

Oh you cynic you! Here on HPC we haven't been able to influence the housing market, I doubt I can influence Debenham's annual sales that much.

But the good news was that I did get the faulty item returned - though I had to go to another Debenhams store to do it :P

Edited by catmandu

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Affordable? I tend not to see Debenhams in that light. Am I wrong?

I wouldn't don't see them as cheap but it's all relative.

How are such as Next by comparison now? Next said they were putting up their prices by 8% this year. If Debenhams are doing well, maybe a firm like Next are down?

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Do you play or are they the ones with a hole in the middle?

The latter. I usually wear t-shirts, but when I need to go to a funeral, wedding or meet members of the royal family, I reach for a polo shirt.

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The silent churner.......if a service provider does not live up to your expectations, the worse damage you can do to them is ceasing to use them again, taking your business elsewhere, and even worse for them would be spreading the word to those that trust what you have to say as being correct. ;)

Nah, they all come back if you've got the lowest prices - people are full of sh1t like that.

People moan about poor customer service in retrospect - they're not prepared to pay more to ensure they don't receive it in the first place - despite all the wobbling on about customer service customers don't actually place any monetary value on it.

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Nah, they all come back if you've got the lowest prices - people are full of sh1t like that.

People moan about poor customer service in retrospect - they're not prepared to pay more to ensure they don't receive it in the first place - despite all the wobbling on about customer service customers don't actually place any monetary value on it.

Always wondered who you work for, debenhams it is :D

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Nah, they all come back if you've got the lowest prices - people are full of sh1t like that.

People moan about poor customer service in retrospect - they're not prepared to pay more to ensure they don't receive it in the first place - despite all the wobbling on about customer service customers don't actually place any monetary value on it.

....depends, waitrose/ john lewis don't have the lowest prices.....others will refuse to shop/purchase from establishments that over sell and under deliver.....some don't care who they buy from, what treatment or quality they get, price is the only thing that matters.....most people are not in that third category, but some businesses only cater for them. ;)

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....depends, waitrose/ john lewis don't have the lowest prices.....others will refuse to shop/purchase from establishments that over sell and under deliver.....some don't care who they buy from, what treatment or quality they get, price is the only thing that matters.....most people are not in that third category, but some businesses only cater for them. ;)

They pay a premium at John Lewis because they can avoid the hoi-polloi and it confers social status - not for the service - although they might say they go for the service.

There's yawning gap between how people say they behave and how they actually behave.

For Sainsburys and Asda, although catering to different income groups, I can guarantee the lowest priced goods will be the highest volume sales.

If people didn't buy predominantly on price online shopping wouldn't be what it is.

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In my (admittedly limited) experience, John Lewis deserves its reputation for service, and I also bought a TV there which was better value than anywhere else (after Comet turned down my invitation to reduce their price :rolleyes: )

I do think there is a minimum standard of service which is required to avoid peeing off customers, though it's true to say that not all meet that standard and the impact on their sales is probably not as pronounced as it should be.

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  • 284 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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