LONDON — Refurbished stores and an improving women’s wear business pushed second-half sales at Debenhams up 7.9 percent, with same-store sales rising 3.9 percent.
The U.K. department store said Tuesday that for the full year ended Aug. 30, total sales rose 6.7 percent, with like-for-like sales up 3.7 percent.
Debenhams reported changes in sales activity but won’t report earnings and sales figures until Oct. 14.
Gross margin rose 0.4 percent during the year and 0.7 percent during its second half.
“The business is benefiting from our investment in the Debenhams brand and our stores, along with an improving performance in women’s wear,” said Belinda Earl, chief executive of Debenhams.
The chain will open a new store in Birmingham later this week and one in Londonderry later this month, adding 200,000 square feet of trading space.
As reported, Earl and her top managers have joined forces with the private equity fund Permira to bid for the store. So far their bid, which values Debenhams at $2.4 billion, converted from the pound at current exchange, has inspired little shareholder enthusiasm. As of Aug. 26, the first closing date for shareholders, Permira had received approximately 2.22 percent of the existing issued share capital. Debenhams directors, who recommended the Permira bid, are nevertheless still in talks with CVC Capital Partners/Texas Pacific Group with the aim of drawing out a rival bid.
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