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Debenhams looks to boost furniture after slow quarter

DebenhamsDebenhams is to look to boost its furniture offer after warning of lower sales and flat profits.

The department store chain is looking to boost its furniture offer in the face of weak clothing sales and shoppers deciding to spend on holidays.
The chain already sells furniture from many stores, albeit with very small displays in some stores, and having trialled two furniture display concepts in Manchester and Gateshead, a further six will be introduced for the Autumn/Winter season.
The group saw like for like sales drop by 0.2% in the 15 weeks to 11 June but rise by 4.1% for the 41 week period.
Outgoing chief executive Michael Sharp said profits for the full year would be flat, after earlier hoping for a slight rise in margins, but online was performing well. ‘Online sales grew by 7.0% against strong comparatives in the 15 week period, with cumulative growth for the year to date of 9.1%. We continue to see positive trends in mobile, which now represents over 50% of UK online orders and strong growth in Click & Collect, up 19% year on year.
‘The UK trading environment has been weaker since the new year, particularly in clothing, and our strategy to increase the mix of non-clothing sales has supported our performance against this background, with Health and Beauty sales in particular continuing to show good growth.’