Debenhams has announced its interim management statement covering the 18 weeks to 5 January 2013, which reveals that heavy discounting boosted December sales.
According to Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp trading for retailers over the Christmas period was the toughest in nearly four years. To counter this the department store extended its Christmas trading period by an extra two days last year.
It was expected that customers would focus shopping activities later in the season, due to Christmas falling on a Tuesday, which proved to be true in the case of Debenhams. Prices in store and online were cut by up to 50% on lingerie lines, a move that helped achieve the stores highest ever December sales figures. Over the five weeks to January 5, like-for-like sales were up 5%, and increased by 8.5% on a two year basis.
Sharp said: “I am pleased with our performance in the first four months of our financial year. The trading environment was extremely challenging but we focused on meeting the needs of our customers and executing the four pillars of our strategy."
Top sellers over Christmas included lingerie and party dresses, many of which were part of the store’s advertising campaign.