Britain’s fledgling economic recovery is likely to take time to feed through to stronger consumer spending, Debenhams said yesterday as the summer heatwave and surging online trade helped it return to sales growth.
The department store chain, which suffered a dreary spring season, said like-for-like sales lifted 1.9 per cent in its final quarter to 31 August.
It said the warmer summer weather was “helpful”, but also hailed its online performance as sales leapt by 46.2 per cent over the full year. Investors warmed to news that the group, which trades from 236 stores across 28 countries, was also winning market share and would meet profit forecasts for its 2012-13 financial year.
But chief executive Michael Sharp adopted a cautionary stance, saying: “We are confident in our strategy but are not expecting any rapid recovery in consumer sentiment and the marketplace remains highly competitive,”
The City is looking for full-year profits of about £153 million.