Lingerie and swimwear helped boost revenue growth at Debenhams this year as the retailer strengthened its non-clothing side of the business.
The department store chain said total group sales rose 1.3% to £2.86mn in the 52 weeks to September 3.
Underwear gave the business a boost, with bridal lingerie sales climbing 16% on last year and the B by Ted Baker range growing 15% in the same period.
The athleisure trend also showed core strength this year, with Shock Absorber’s sports bra sales rising 19% versus last year.
Meanwhile, Debenhams’ summer campaign drove its swimwear to the number one market position, with 318,000 swimsuits sold.
The Matthew Williamson swimwear range put in a particularly strong performance, delivering a full-price sell-through of 80% on the advertised line, Debenhams’ operations director Suzanne Harlow said during the retailer’s press conference yesterday.
Growth in mobile supported a strong multi-channel performance this year. Online sales grew 9.3%, representing 14.7% of Group sales, with online EBITDA up 14.0%
However, Debenhams saw its pre-tax profits fall 10% to £105.8mn from £114.5 million last year.
Debenhams chairman Sir Ian Cheshire said the results are in line with expectations, reflecting a strong performance over peak followed by a tougher second half trading environment.
“Our strategy to rebalance the business towards non-clothing has supported our performance, with strong progress in beauty, gifting and food,” he added.
“Our diversified business model together with good cash generation and reducing debt means that Debenhams is in good shape to withstand a market background that remains uncertain. Our executive team, supported by all our colleagues, are actively managing the business to increase its resilience and flexibility, which will stand us in good stead to deliver long term sustainable growth.”