Debenhams sees a dive in full year profits

The environment remains uncertain as Debenhams continues its recovery
The environment remains uncertain as Debenhams continues its recovery

Department store chain Debenhams has reported a collapse in annual profits as boss Sergio Bucher bemoaned an “uncertain” trading environment.

The retailer said pre-tax profit plummeted by 44% to £59 million in the year to September 2, with like for like sales in the UK coming in flat.

Profits were dragged down by a £36.2 million exceptional charge linked to a restructure being undertaken by the chief executive.

However, even on an underlying basis, pre-tax profit tumbled over 16% to £95.2m.

Sales rose 2% to £2.95 billion and Mr Bucher said that Debenhams is “making progress”.

“We are making good progress with implementing our new strategy, Debenhams Redesigned, and are encouraged by the results from our initial trials, as well as the number of exciting new partners who want to work with us.

“The environment remains uncertain and we face tough comparatives over the key Christmas weeks.”

The CEO, who took over a year ago, is attempting a turnaround of the firm and the figures show he has made some headway.

Sales of beauty, accessories and food and drink helped to mitigate the impact of a weaker clothing market, Debenhams said, with food sales rising 8%.