Everything is relative. Debenhams posted flat like-for-like sales in the 18 weeks leading up and through Christmas and ending January 7th; and this actually made investors very happy. These figures were stronger than expected for their trading, as some analysts had actually forecast that their sales would slip by as much as 3.2 %.
Chief Executive Michael Sharp said, “There was no more promotional activity than there was compared to last year. We have demonstrated we can trade through difficult environments. We will continue to manage the business tightly with an ongoing emphasis on cost and margin management.”
With 170 stores in the UK, Ireland and Denmark, Debenhams actually had a record week leading up to Christmas. Over Christmas, Debenhams managed to sell two million bottles of perfume, 100,000 party dresses and 200,000 handbags.