Beauty withstands Debenhams 84% profit slump

The British retailer blames poor weather conditions and the 'Beast from the East' for sales decline

Image: Debenhams

Debenhams has blamed Britain’s recent extreme weather conditions and snow storms for its 84% profit slide.

The retailer said like-for-like sales dipped 2.2% for the 26 weeks to 3 March 2018 and the dismal weather – nicknamed the 'Beast from the East' – forced Debenhams to temporarily close 100 stores this year.

The bricks-and-mortar closure is estimated to have reduced sales by 1%. Meanwhile, digital fared better, rising by 9.4%.

“It has not been an easy first half and the extreme weather in the final week of the half had a material impact on our results,” said Sergio Bucher, CEO of Debenhams.

“But I am hugely encouraged by the progress we are making to transform Debenhams for our customers.”

Debenhams’ beauty sales overall grew by 1%, but digital cosmetics sales were up 16%.

To further bolster sales, the store chain has announced a beauty sales target of £1bn. To achieve this, it will expand its male grooming offering and increase its online presence.

Debenhams has announced that it is working on a new retail format, a ‘Beauty Hall of the future’, which is said to integrate bricks-and-mortar, events, services and digital.

Launching in autumn, the revamped beauty space will be rolled out to 20 stores before Christmas 2018.

It has also been announced that Debenhams’ CFO Matt Smith is leaving to become Finance Director at Selfridges, after three years with the company.

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