Debenhams saw first half profit slump after clothing sales fell below expectations largely as a result of sales targets based on a strong performance last year, exacerbated by a weaker market in September and October.
The promotional market was more intense than last year, the department store operator admitted, particularly in December, which diluted the impact of its promotions.
Group profit before tax fell 24.5% to £85.2 million over the half ended 1 March, as sales increased 1.7% to £1.08 billion.
Like-for-like sales increased 1.5%, while gross transaction value increased 2.1%.
"Whilst this has been a challenging first half, we are clear on the issues and are taking decisive action to address them. In particular we are focused on building a more competitive multi-channel offer for our customers and improving the operational effectiveness of the overall business,” said chief executive Michael Sharp.
"The Debenhams brand remains strong with sales continuing to grow and a resilient market share performance. Whilst we remain cautious about the strength of the UK consumer recovery, I am confident the changes we are putting in place will provide a better customer experience and, over time, stronger results for our shareholders."