Debenhams enjoyed its highest-ever December sales last month, the retailer said today.
Despite strong comparisons from last year, like-for-like sales over the five weeks to January 5 increased by 5.0% on a one-year basis and by 8.5% on a two-year basis.
Debenhams also reported good sales momentum in the 18 weeks to that date, with group gross transaction value up 3.5% and like-for-likes up 2.9%. And online sales surged ahead of expectations, increasing 39.0%.
Chief executive Michael Sharp described the multi-channel retailer’s performance as pleasing. “The trading environment was extremely challenging but we focused on meeting the needs of our customers and executing the four pillars of our strategy,” he said.
But he added that while “consumers have become acclimatised to the new economic reality, we don’t anticipate a significant change in consumer confidence in the remainder of the year”.
He said that the UK high street had been more promotional over Christmas than the previous year, with customers looking for bargains ahead of Christmas as well as in the traditional sale period.
“We traded the business accordingly which meant some increase in our own promotional activity in the run-up to Christmas.”